Loading: Man versus beast: Bull riders compete in Gonzales in a professional bull riding event
Man versus beast: Bull riders compete in Gonzales in a professional bull riding event
GONZALES - Zachary Miles doesn't run away from bull riding.
He embraces it.
The 20-year-old looked forward to competing in the Professional Bull Riding rodeo Saturday night at the J.B. Wells Arena. In his first ride, he stayed on a bull for six seconds of the required eight seconds.
Before getting on a bull, Miles, who was competing in the bull riding rodeo for the third time Saturday night, doesn't have any rituals to prepare himself for what he's about to get into. He doesn't think about the past, though it's with him everyday.
"I got stepped on my left hip, and when I stood up, it popped back in," the Gonzales native said about when he competed last year. "I was frozen. I was reaching for people, but I couldn't even move."
Miles didn't suffer any severe damage from the injury. He didn't think it was his last ride, and neither did his parents. Miles still feels that way because he's worked so hard to get to where he is.
Being around bulls was nothing odd for Miles.
Sitting in the stands as Miles waited to compete was his dad, Mike Svoboda. He reminisced about himself as a professional bull rider and knew that Miles participating in the sport he loved would only be a matter of time.
"If you get a taste of that dirt in you, it's addictive," Svoboda said about bull riding, pointing to the arena. "It's an itch there that you can never scratch."
Miles, with his dad watching, rode a miniature bull when he was 10. He remembered falling off, but he got back on.
It's the story of his life, Miles said.
Miles, who turned professional at 18, doesn't recall hurting himself on that first ride, but as he said, who wants to think about pain?
"It's not a matter of if but when," he said. "It be best not think about it."
Miles's mother, Melanie Svoboda, does not worry about her son hurting himself anymore when he rides bulls. She makes sure he takes precaution, and that includes wearing a helmet.
She thought if Miles rode a bull once, he would never ask to ride again.
"I always told him 'you really don't want to ride that,'" Melanie Svoboda said.
Miles didn't stop when he was 10, and he didn't stop Saturday night.
Not disappointed about his performance, he was signing boots and shaking hands with friends and fans.
He doesn't think about doing anything else. This is his profession. One day he hopes to become a world champion.
"If you fall off, you can't let that hold you down," Miles said. "You got to get up, pick your head up and go on to the next one."
Riding a bull is an experience he wants to grab by the horns.