Dakota Louis was competing at his first Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series event this weekend in Billings.
“This was a dream come true,” said the Browning cowboy.
While physically it was Louis’ first time riding bulls at the PBR event at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark, mentally he’d already been in the arena many times before.
“Every single day working out, I thought about being here,” Louis said.
“In bull riding, you have to be mentally prepared,” he continued. “And when you are mentally prepared, it gives you that much more of an edge. Mentally, I had been here before I even got here.”
The 21-year-old Louis earned a spot in the Stanley Performance in Action Invitational by winning the recent PBR Touring Pro Division event in Lynden, Wash.
“I had been going to the Touring Pro events, that’s been my main focus this year,” he said.
Billings was Louis’ third BFTS event. He’s also ridden in Albuquerque, N.M., in 2011 and last year.
“I knew if I won (Lynden), I had a chance to come to Billings,” said Louis. “But I didn’t know for sure.”
Officials from the PBR headquarters in Pueblo, Colo., informed him by telephone on Tuesday.
“I was looking forward to that call,” Louis said with a smile.
The PBR found Louis in Pendleton, Ore., where he has been living the last few months.
“My fiancée lives there and we train performance horses,” Louis said. “And the winter is a little better there than in Browning.
“Oh yeah, I was pumped to be coming here. I’ve been coming to this event since I was a kid.”
Louis opened with an 84.25-point ride aboard Die Hard on Friday night.
“To ride that first bull, I can’t describe that feeling,” he said. “It was awesome.
“I’m just living in the moment, trying to enjoy all of this.”
He was bucked off in 3.72 seconds on Saturday and tossed in 3.21 seconds in Sunday’s third round.
“My goal is to be on the BFTS tour and make the World Finals,” said Louis, who is 79th in the standings.
And despite a 1-for-3 outing, he had plenty of support.
“I can’t tell you how much family I had here,” Louis said. “This experience has been great.”