Brad Moreno has compiled a 20-1 record at 126 pounds on the wrestling mat at Monument Valley (Kayenta, Ariz.).
It’s been the perfect complement to get himself ready for his ultimate thrill:
Climbing aboard a 1,500-pound bull and riding it out for eight seconds.
“It’s fun,” Moreno said. “We just have to stay on for eight seconds and I can get off.”
This has been his passion since he was 4 and climbed on a calf.
Last June, in Payson, after completing his freshman year in high school, Moreno earned a buckle with an 81-point ride in the opening round, making him the overall season champion in Arizona for high school bull riding.
It qualified him for the National High School Finals Rodeo in Wyoming, where he said he didn’t do as well as he would have liked.
But it only increased his passion to get back there this summer and win.
“I want to do rodeo for my life,” he said.
Monument Valley wrestling coach Clyde McBride is blown away by Moreno’s fearlessness and toughness.
“He is a giant wrapped up in a 5-foot-5, 122-pound body,” McBride said. “He has a great passion to overcome danger. As a bull rider, he boards bulls that exceed 1,500 pounds and has witnessed kids get severely injured and even die in the event.
“Brad is both physically and mentally tough. I have seen him get thrown, hung up, stepped on and horned by a bull. The pain and fear never gets to him. He can’t wait to get on the next.
“On the wrestling mat, he tends to get overlooked because of his small stature. However, it doesn’t take long for his opponents to realize how strong he is.”
Moreno, 17, began the wrestling season winning his first 13 matches, including taking the title in the Peabody Classic Wrestling Tournament.
Yolanda Moreno, who takes pictures of her sons at all of his events, whether it be wrestling, cross country or rodeo, has never seen her son shy away from these bucking beasts, growing up on the Navajo Indian reservation.
“He used to ride horses,” she said. “It went into calf riding, deer riding, junior bull riding. He was going to stop when he got to high school, but all the (rodeo) directors would say, ‘Why isn’t he doing bull riding?’