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Irishman takes on world of bull riding

By: Lucas Punkari

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jul 03, 2014 02:48 pm

Ireland's Ian Molan took part in the Airdrie Pro Rodeo this weekend, as he competed in the bull riding event on June 28.
Ireland's Ian Molan took part in the Airdrie Pro Rodeo this weekend, as he competed in the bull riding event on June 28.
Lucas Punkari/Rocky View Publishing

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When Ireland native Ian Molan is asked by people back home about what he does for a living, the 26-year-old bull rider gets a lot of strange looks when he explains his profession.

“It’s at a point now where I really don’t even bother trying to explain it in full detail,” Molan said. “It’s a very strange thing for people over there, and you get a lot of jokes about it, but I’m proud of what I do as a cowboy.”

“I’ve met a couple of bull riders from Belgium and Switzerland, as there’s a really small scene over in Europe,” he added. “But the majority of people haven’t been to or seen a rodeo before over there, which is why many people are confused about the sport when I tell them about it.”

Molan, who has competed in more than 20 events so far this year, took part in the Airdrie Pro Rodeo bull riding event on June 28, where the 2013 Canadian Bull of the Year Red Stag bucked him off in six seconds.

“That was a great bull and I felt really good on it, but things just didn’t go my way tonight (June 27),” Molan said.

“This is my first time here in Airdrie, and it’s been a pretty good experience,” he added. “It’s a shame that the weather wasn’t nice during (some of the) weekend, but it’s a good atmosphere and the people who run it are great to deal with.”

Molan’s first interaction with rodeo came when he was 21 years old and living in Australia, as he got bit by the bull riding bug after watching a competition in North Queensland.

“After I went to that event, I just wanted to get on one to see what it felt like, as I was pretty much addicted to it like people are to any sport,” Molan said.

“The first time I got on a bull was a bit of a joke, as I jumped on a bull at a cattle ranch with no rope or anything,” he added. “Then on my first bull ride in a chute, the pulling rope snapped in half so we had to improvise things, but everything just went from there.”

After that initial experience, Molan rode competitively in Australia for four years before sitting out for six months with injuries prior to getting back in the saddle in May at Canadian events, with his best finish to date being a fourth place result in Alix, Alberta on May 2.

“I initially got hurt while practicing in Queensland, and then I got kicked in the head at the finals in Australia, so I had to take some time off to heal up,” Molan said.

“Right now, I’m just wanting to get back riding at a consistent level,” he added. “Being here at these events in Canada helps with that, as you are around some great riders and some great bulls, and that really helps to step your game up.”

When it comes to the next step in his career, Molan is currently playing a little bit of waiting game, as he is awaiting approval for a sports visa in the United States.

“If I can get that, I would probably base myself out of California and go to a lot of events south of the border,” Molan said. “I’m also waiting to see if I’ll be one of the 25 riders selected to compete in the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) China tour, which will hopefully be finalized in the next couple of weeks.”

“That would be a pretty big deal for me to head over to China to compete,” he added. “That’s a whole new tour that’s starting up there, and it would give me a chance to compete and train on a regular basis.”


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