PARK CITY — It's difficult to stand out for having a unique name when some of your contemporaries are Stitches Stanley, Pake Stamper and Ty Knott.
Bareback rider James Bond doesn't have the creativity of his fellow rodeo athletes, but his name has history. And not just from the decades-old movie franchise.
"I'm a fourth-generation James Bond," said Bond, who competed in the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association Prairie Circuit Finals at Hartman Arena on Friday.
"My great-grandaddy was the start of James Bond, before there was the TV or movies or anything like that. It's just passed on."
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All the Bonds actually share the middle name James — the bareback rider's first name is Austin, but he won't pass on a chance to get attention.
"I've gone by 'Little Bond' or 'James Bond' since I was knee-high to a grasshopper," he said.
Bond's name is the first thing people ask about when they meet. They ask even though they know he must be getting tired of it.
"Really, I ain't," Bond said. "I love it. I'm privileged to have a name that does have some flash to it and a little bit of grab to it. I like people to get involved and get excited about it."
Bond said he was a little too excited when the season began. He was so focused on winning a title that his enjoyment eroded and he began riding poorly.
His last chance to advance to the Circuit Finals is to win this weekend, and his 78-point ride puts him tied for second behind Caine Riddle entering today's second and third rounds.
"I said, 'I'm going to come down here and win, lose or draw I'm going to have fun with it and give absolutely everything I can do,' " Bond said. "If I can do that, I figure I can say I did my job."
The 21-year-old Bond, a Joplin, Mo. native, is a student at Fort Scott Community College, where he competes on the rodeo team.
The coach there, Chad Cross, reignited Bond's love for the sport even though Bond says his first love is football. Bond said he was into most sports as a kid, but rodeo grabbed him early.
"When I was a little kid I used to ride everything I could get my legs over," Bond said. "They used to have to fight me off the sheep.
"When I was six years old I told my dad I wanted to start rodeoing. He said, 'Well, we'll put you on some calves.' So I rode calves and dreamt of being a bull rider. When I got into (rodeo), I fell in love with it."
Bond started bareback riding as a teenager and says the sport is the perfect outlet for his intense personality.
"I am one of the most competitive people," he said. "I try not to let it turn into cockiness or anything, but I want to win. To beat nature and 1,500 pounds of fury that absolutely does not want you up there, and me being a 180-pound guy taking that on, I'd say that's a challenge worth taking."
Bond confirms that he takes his martini shaken, not stirred, and he doesn't mind when he's saddled with some of the other James Bond's trademarks.
"One year I was at a youth finals and they gave me a '007' backtag," Bond said." That's still on my wall to this day, framed. I love that thing. If I never win another title, I've got that to carry with me."
Bareback Riding — 1. Caine Riddle, Vernon, Texas, 81 points; 2. (tie) Yance Day, Ft. Scott, and James Bond, Goodman, Mo., 78; 4. (tie) Jared Keylon, Ft. Scott; Dustin Murray, Wellston, Okla. and Chancy Lovinggood, Alva, Okla., 76 points;
Steer Wrestling — 1. Sean Mulligan, Coleman, Okla., 3.3 seconds; 2. Stockton Graves, Newkirk, Okla., 3.5; 3. Jule Hazen, Ashland, 3.9; 4. Stewart Gulager, Garland, 4.3; 5 Clay Mindemann, Salina, Okla., 4.4;
Team Roping — 1. Cody Butler-Chuck Butler, Sanger, Texas, 5.8 seconds; 2. Gavin Foster-Kaleb Fort, 6.0; 3. Brett Christensen-JD Holland Jr, 7.1; 4. Charles Pogue-Jett Hillman, 7.9; 5. Philip McCoy-Pake Stamper, 16.8
Saddle Bronc Riding — 1. Casey McGooden, Doniphan, Neb., 73; 2. RA Brown, Stinnett, Texas, 71; 3. Travis Sheets, Hyannis, Neb., 69; 4 Luke Rush, Natoma, 63
Tie Down Roping — 1 Hunter Herrin, Apache, Okla., 8.1 seconds; 2 Cole Bailey, Okmulgee, Okla., 8.6; 3. (tie) Ryan Jarrett, Summerville, Ga., 8.8 and Jerome Schneeberger, Ponca City, 8.8; 5. Blake Eliason, Ponca City, 9.2.
Bull Riding — 1. Cody Atwood, Decatur, Texas, 89 points; 2. Dustin Elliott, North Platte, Neb., 86; 3. Nathan Klassan, Broken Arrow, Okla., 84; 4. Blake Rowan, Muskogee, Okla., 80.