Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    From the US Army to the Professional Bull Riders Association

    From the US Army to the Professional Bull Riders Association

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Jarred Woods | Sgt. Chris Sexton, a heavy equipment operator with the 1151st Engineering Company,...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Veasley 

    1st Theater Sustainment Command

    By Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Veasley
    1st Sustainment Command

    BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Two thousand pounds of raging fury underneath you and you don’t cringe. Your heart begins to race but not because of fear, but of obsession. You know that this ride could be your last but you embrace it with pleasure, because the next eight seconds of your life are all that matter.

    Bull riding is by far the most challenging and yet most dangerous sport around. It takes a potentially insane individual to get out of a perfectly good pick up truck to go ride a perfectly insane rodeo bull. But for one Alabama country boy it is absolutely normal.

    “Bull riding is a passion of mine, it is something that I enjoy doing every opportunity the lord allows me to,” said Sgt. Chris Sexton, a Heavy Equipment Operator for the 1151st Engineers from the Alabama Army National Guard, Huntsville, Ala.

    Bull riding requires balance, coordination, bravery and for want of better words, balls of steel. It has been said that bull riders live by the creed, “It’s not if I get hurt, but when,” and Chris Sexton embraces the lifestyle and sets his goals high.

    “The one thing I don't like about bull riding is the injuries that come with the sport. But I am so passionate about this sport I rarely think of the negative aspect. Every chance I get, I just thank the good lord for blessing me with the strength and ability to ride,” he said.

    A conservative country boy from Gordo, Ala., Sexton is counting down the days that he to can join the elite few who can call themselves professional bull riders.

    Since Sexton could remember all he cared about was being a cowboy.
    Although he loves hunting, fishing, sport shooting and riding horses, his undying dream is to ride bulls in the Professional Bull Riders Association (PBR).

    “Chris and I have known each other since we were seven years old. He is like my brother,” said Larry McKinney, an Alabama native and lifelong friend of Sexton.

    “Chris is the most motivated person I know and this has to be the most worrisome thing about this kid,” said Mckinney. “Every time we do something together he has to do it better than me. This guy is dedicated.”

    The fact that Sexton is dedicated is nothing less than accurate. He is currently deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Bagram, Afghanistan. He and his unit are tasked with the critical mission of recovering United States Army material and returning it to its raw state to be utilized again in the army inventory.

    “I love my job in the Army,” said Sexton. “My job here is so important and I am glad to be a part of this mission in Afghanistan.”

    The 1151st Engineers are deployed as part of the U.S. Army Central Command Material Recovery Team (CMRE). On a daily basis the 1151st performs structural repair, construction and deconstruction of buildings and several other vital operations in the combat theater. Although he has a perpetual dream of one day becoming a professional bull ride he recognizes his first calling of protecting the nation he loves.

    “I know my son is a true cowboy. Chris loves rodeo more than anyone I have ever known,” said Mrs. Lottie Sexton, the mother of Sgt. Chris Sexton.

    “If I could use one word to describe my son, I would have to say “Strong.” Every weekend he would either be in a rodeo or practicing for one. He loves it so much, and I pray he is successful and goes pro some day,” she said.

    Sexton has competed in several junior level competitions and is very knowledgeable about the sport. He is constantly reading and training for competitions even though he is deployed. Sexton recognizes the training required to be the best so he studies hard to keep his edge on the sport.

    “I watch a lot of riders and by far my favorite bull rider is Ty Murray,” said Sexton, referring to the nine-time World Champion rodeo cowboy and Co-Founder of the PBR.

    “I don’t know if I am ready to compete professionally but with the lord on my side I can and will do all things,” Sexton added.

    “I am confident that if Chris wants to go pro he will, and when he does go pro, I’m going to walk up to him and slap him on the back and tell him T.J. would be proud,” said McKinney, referring to a lifelong friend and fellow bull rider of theirs who passed away in a fatal car accident in 2010.

    “T.J. was like a brother to me and I love and miss him dearly,” said Sexton. “If I go pro I would have to give my brother 16 seconds, 8 seconds for the judges and 8 seconds for my brother T.J., referring to the certified ride time on a rodeo bull and the tribute to his lost comrade.

    When he returns from combat, Sexton plans to go out west to bull riding school.

    “When I get back I want to go to the Scott Mendes Bulls and Bibles riding school or the Gary Leffew bull riding school,” said Sexton. “I love both schools, but I am stuck in between the two!”

    “I mean nobody knows riding better than Gary Leffew in my opinion. But for my faith in God, my first pick would be the Scott Mendes Bulls and Bibles riding school. The reason I like Scott Mendes School is because he brings the word of the lord into the sport and it’s a good way to ride bulls which I love. He teaches the riders how to enjoy the sport and still spread the Love of Christ and,” Sexton concluded.

    After the completion of the bull riding school, Sexton plans to take his riding to the next level by doing some Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and touring pro events, hopefully reaching his lifelong dream of becoming a professional bull rider.



    Date Taken: 03.13.2014
    Date Posted: 03.13.2014 10:02
    Story ID: 121940
    Location: BAGRAM, AF
    Hometown: HUNTSVILLE, AL, US

    Web Views: 723
    Downloads: 0