Five-time NFR header Dustin Bird is returning to ProRodeo competition at Denver’s National Western Stock Show and Rodeo with his former partner Russell Cardoza, and with him he brings his iconic mare 20-year-old mare Dolly.
“I’ve had some good success in the winters before, they’re kind of my setups,” Bird, who took most of 2018 off to spend with his family and cattle in Montana, said. “With a good partner, I thought I could win a lot so I don’t have to rodeo my butt off in July and August. I don’t like leaving Montana when it’s super nice to have to go to Sikeston, Missouri, or Lovington, New Mexico, when it’s too far and too hot. I know you’ve got to go to where the good rodeos are to make the NFR, so hopefully I’ll have a good winter and not have to do that at all.”
Bird’s fiancé Alicia Stockton has been preparing Dolly to return to competition since the mare reinjured her deep digital flexor at the 2017 Wrangler NFR. Despite the injury, Dolly still helped Erich Rogers win his PRCA heading world title.
“Dr. Josh Harvey did all the stem cell and rehab,” Bird explained. “We got her in June and she was cleared to go, but we waited and gave her the fall off. I’m fighting with it right now, because I don’t want to ever hurt her again. I probably wouldn’t ride her if I had another good one. I have to ride her, so I’ll ride her at the big indoor rodeos where we’ve had success before.”
Bird and Cardoza will rope at Denver, Rapid City and Fort Worth and plan to rodeo the rest of the season. TRJ