Tahlequah Daily Press


June 16, 2012

Q&A: Ryan Dirteater, Professional Bull Rider

Ryan Dirteater, the “Cherokee Kid,” is currently 11th in the Built Ford Tough Series standings on the Professional Bull Riders Tour. The Hulbert native has competed in 17 events this season with 20 rides in 46 attempts. Dirteater’s next competition will be in Tulsa from Aug. 10-11.

What is life on the PBR Tour like?

It’s pretty great. I love leaving, but I love coming back home, because there’s no place like home. I’ve been all over the country, I’ve been to Canada and Mexico and I’m going to Australia this summer. Bull riding has taken me a lot of places I never thought I’d go. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Who is the toughest competitor on the tour?

The guy that’s leading the tour right now is Valdiron (de Oliveira). Then you’ve got L.J. Jenkins sitting in second. Then, you’ve got Silvano Alves, who is from Brazil. The lineup is packed with Brazilians. They come over here and they’re hungry for it. We just have to be hungrier than they are.

What does an offseason consist of for you? How much time is dedicated to winding down and how much time do you take off?

In my offseason I like to stay fit and stay in shape. I don’t like to get out of shape too much because it’s hard to get back into shape, especially as you’re getting older. My dad is also always telling me to eat right and stay in the gym. I don’t like to stay on treadmills that much, so I’ll get out and run.

How did the nickname “Cherokee Kid” come about?

In my rookie season, Justin McKee — he’s from Oklahoma — he knows I’m Cherokee and Native American, and as soon as I jumped onto the scene he named me “Cherokee Kid.” I just stuck with it, so everybody calls me “Cherokee Kid.” I like it and when I go all around the world every knows me as “Cherokee Kid.” So that’s pretty neat.

When you drive into Hulbert and you see that sign “Home of the Cherokee Kid,” what does that mean to you?

It means a lot to me. It means the town is really supporting me and backing me up. I feel like I have the whole town backing me up. It’s putting pressure on me, so I’ll have to ride my bull and stay on him.

When you do have free time, what kind of hobbies do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy team roping quite a bit. When I am home, we practice two or three times a week. That’s something I love doing. I love hanging out with my buddies and my friends. I golf; I’ve got some golfing buddies that I go golfing with to just kind of relax. I also like to go fishing and hunting and just do guy things.

How good are you at golf?

I’m not the greatest but I enjoy it. You can just kind of walk around and chill. It’s a fun sport but you just have to focus.

Sometimes, country music acts will combine their tours with the PBR Tour, so have you met any famous country music acts?

I’ve met Big and Rich. They played at an event in Detroit this year.

What city on the tour is your favorite city to go to?

Outside of Oklahoma, probably New York. Riding at Madison Square Garden, there’s a lot of history there. That was pretty cool.

What do you plan on doing when you retire from the tour?

I would like to go back to school and get a degree in something. That’s always been a goal of mine. Besides that, I’d like to have some cattle and raise some bulls of my own. It’s just tough to do it right now because I’m always gone.

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