LASALLE, Colo. (September 13, 2010) - Reigning World Champion Kody Lostroh is returning to the Built Ford Tough Series after missing 14 events in the past six months.
Lostroh said he feels good, and added, “I’m looking forward to getting on some dang good bulls again. I’ve been missing it, that’s for sure.”
The 24-year-old had his left shoulder surgically repaired in late March, followed by an operation a month later to repair his injured left elbow.
He injured the elbow last season, but rode through the pain en route to winning the world title. Three days after that, on Nov. 11, he underwent surgery. He said the doctor took out bone chips, tightened up the lateral ligament and repaired some muscle tissue. The timing of the surgery caused him to miss one event in late November – a far cry from the half-season he first anticipated.
However, after competing in five BFTS events in 2010, he missed two, then rode in four more before electing to undergo the springtime surgeries.
The decision to shut down for six months was difficult, particularly after winning the event in Anaheim, Calif.
“In my case, it comes to a point where you finally say, ‘I have to get this taken care of,’” he said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “It wasn’t necessarily easy, but it wasn’t the hardest decision I ever made. I didn’t want to do it, but I knew it had to be done. It’s one of those deals where you have to make a choice you’re not too excited about, but you know it’ll be better.”
Lostroh said he’s been on five practice bulls in the past two weeks, and had planned to get on more, but “decided to lay off” after suffering a slight sprain to his left wrist.
He added that he’ll only need to “put a little bit of tape on it” and laughed when asked if he’d be the next top-ranked rider to consider switching to his off-hand. He does plan to get on two more practice bulls Wednesday before leaving for this week’s event in Springfield, Mo.
“The elbow shouldn’t be a problem anymore, and the shoulder shouldn’t be a problem,” Lostroh said. “So other than a little bit more strength I have to get back, I guess I’m as healthy as I’ve been in awhile.”
While watching the BFTS on television during his recovery, he’s been surprised to that no one has been able to “run away with it.”
Calling it a “crazy season,” he was even more surprised that that despite competing in only nine of 26 events, he still hasn’t been cut from the Top 30 in the world standings.
With four BFTS events remaining on the schedule, he said it’s “not a long shot by any means” to think he can finish in the Top 15.
“My goal is to just get back to where I was at,” said Lostroh. “I felt a little rusty at first, but the last couple bulls I got on I felt strong.
“As far as the rest of this year, I’m just going to try and ride as many bulls as I can. I’m not in the hunt for a world title, but … if I can finish in the Top 15, that would be great.”
He’s currently ranked 29th in the world – there are 18 riders ranked lower with 10 or more events to their credit in 2010, nine of whom have 15 or more. Although he’s 6,988.75 points out of first place, he would need to make up just 1,667.5 points to climb into the 15th position in the world.
In the nine events he competed in, he finished in the Top 10 four times, and his $74,830.65 has all but assured him a spot in Las Vegas for the PBR World Finals in October.
Although he said all along he was aiming for a return in Uncasville, Conn., Lostroh admitted that he privately hoped all along for a return in Springfield.
“Everything feels good,” he said, “so I’m going to go ahead do it.”
NEWS and NOTES
Live Event Center: Follow all the action from this week’s BFTS event in Springfield, including the second of five bonus rounds for the Top 10 riders, by logging on to the Event Center at www.pbr.com/live. The multimedia center provides live scoring, live blogging and event-related interviews.