WESTFIELD TWP. — Brandon Davis has never forgotten his roots.
Davis, a native of Cabot, Arkansas, is a professional bull rider on the PBR Touring Pro Division and the Southern Extreme Bull Riding Association. He has made a name for himself in the sport he loves, but he will always have a special place in his heart for Buckin’ Ohio and Creek Bend Ranch.
“I’m living the life that I dreamed about as a kid, and Buckin’ Ohio was that start,” the Lodi resident said. “I love this place and this event. The crowd has grown so much and there’s an electricity. There’s just something about it that gets to me.”
The annual Buckin’ Ohio summer bull riding series opens tonight at 7 at the Westfield Township ranch on Garman Road. It’s the first of four events on the schedule, along with sessions on July 26, Aug. 23 and Sept. 13.
“It’s been 5-6 years and I’m still chasing that buckle,” the 24-year-old said. “It’s important for me (to win). It’s almost a must. Every bull rider has their favorite event, and this is mine. I can’t wait to show off for my fans.”
Davis has had his share of success this season. After breaking his arm in July and re-fracturing it in the fall, the 5-foot-11, 145-pounder has recovered nicely by winning a handful of SABRE events and advancing to his fifth straight SABRE final.
He also competed in the inaugural PBR Blue DEF Velocity Tour and placed fourth in Cincinnati earlier this month.
“It’s been a big year for me,” Davis said. “I mean, hey, I even got to throw out the first pitch at the Cincinnati Reds game when I was down there. My goal is to move up to more PBR events, along with doing some of the SABRE-sanctioned ones to stay bushed up.”
Gates will open at 4 p.m., followed by the Mutton Bustin’ competition at 5:30. The theme for the 13th season opener will be “Celebrating Children and Families.” The ranch also has installed new grandstands and has a host of other activities for adults and children.
While the event is just one stop on Davis’ tour, it’s the most important. It’s where it all started when he came to Northeast Ohio at the age of 14 and something he won’t soon forget as he keeps striving for his ultimate goal of making the PBR tour.
“If you’re going to make it, you have to live on the road to fulfill your dreams,” Davis said. “It’s all right at my fingertips, and there’s no better feeling than that.
“I like the pressure, though, because it helps me focus. My dreams are right there.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.