Florida’s Clayton Sellars aims for World Bulls Championship

Florida is known for having a wild side.

There are endless stories about alligators, pythons and manatees. Now you can add something else to the list: bull riding.

This week on Fourth Estate in Florida, Matt Austin and Ginger Gadsden chat with pro bull rider Clayton Sellars.

The young man from Fruitland Park has made a name for himself in the professional world of bull riding.

The first thing you notice about Clayton Sellars is that hat. It screams cowboy in the best possible way.

As soon as he starts talking, he has a quick smile and you can’t help but notice that mega-watt, Hollywood friendly smile.

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That’s just the surface for this cowboy who has deep Florida roots and rides bulls.

He’s young but Sellars has worked hard to put some respect on his name and on the sport.

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At just 24 years old, Sellars has been in the saddle since the age of 7.

This is the age he was when he rode his first sheep or sheep as it is called.

He said that from the first time he jumped on horseback riding, he had the bull riding bug.

“It’s a fun event,” Sellars said. “Everybody likes to watch it, but as a kid you’re a superstar. Riding that sheep across the arena and the crowd is screaming, people pick you up and you wave to the crowd. That’s when I I started and from there it goes to calves, bulls and steers.

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We wanted to know how a kid from Fruitland Park gets into the sport.

“There are quite a few rodeo athletes in the state of Florida and just cowboys in general,” Sellars said. “That’s how I started. The cowboys and ranchers in my family and I grew up riding cows, working cows around the cowboy sport and lifestyle. It just evolved into riding bulls and calves when I was young, and I started to get better and better and ended up getting a rodeo scholarship to go to college and leave from there, I got really serious about it and it kind of continued my professional career.

Right now, Sellars is rolling for a new league team, Missouri Thunder.

The goal right now is to produce a winning record and hopefully win the championship.

Sellars has done a lot of riding, but we wanted to know more about his first time on a bull.

“Going back to the first time, it was obviously pretty scary at the time,” he said. “I really didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what I was doing or how to do it. I was just doing it because it was cool and I thought I was a cowboy kid; thought I was tough. It’s funny how fuzzy and confusing it was before how clear and easy it is now.

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Sellars said his first race was tough.

“The first big bull I ever rode on, he pushed me back really quickly and he walked on the side of my head, and it cut my head off from here all the way back,” he said. – he said, nodding his ear to the back of his head. “I thought ‘Golly, it’s going to be a long career’.”

Sellars brushed himself off, got himself stitched up and got back to riding. He said right before he turned pro, he just rode and rode a lot of bulls.

“That was the only way to get better was to do it a lot,” Sellars said. “You can work whatever you want; you can get as big and muscular as you want, but that won’t help you in this game.”

Staying healthy in the game requires consistent and specialized workouts.

“Now my workouts are very special, lots of mobility, lots of body weight, flexibility, stretching. Nothing that’s going to make me big and heavy but something that’s going to keep me strong and light and flexible because you really have to bend and not break in this game.

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Eight whole seconds of bending, not breaking is what keeps Sellars in the win column.

When asked if he was superstitious when it comes to competition, Sellars said no, but he had a routine.

“I prepare the same way every time,” he said. “Not exact but I hit the same checkpoints throughout the day. Ultimately you’re in the game and shooting and it comes down to those last few seconds just before the door opens, you know that there is not much that can explain this. Things are going fast but your mind is clear, you are there, you are present, you hardly think of anything. If thoughts come to my mind mind, it’s like whatever it takes, let’s tackle this thing.

Boo!

If you want to learn more about this Florida cowboy and hear the advice he gave Matt on his one and only bull ride, click on the link for Florida’s fourth estate.

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Clyde P. Johnson