Road to recovery

Top ranked bull rider makes way back from knee surgery

Reigning No. 1 regional bull rider Loncey Johnson understands there are more important goals than defending his title.

Johnson, who misses the first half of the rodeo season recovering from knee surgery, now enters the second half of the season ranked No. 3 in the region.

Johnson's main focus this year is to finish among the Top 3-ranked national riders, a step down from his No. 1 regional ranking last year.

"I don't like the idea of just handing over my title," Johnson said. Johnson is grounded in his goals for this upcoming season. He said he knows missing some of the early rodeos will make reclaiming his previous title more difficult, but not impossible.

Each event builds consistency

Johnson knows each event will help him get back to the top. "All rodeos are important; consistency is the key," he said. "I didn't want to set my standards too high that it will be unreachable."

Johnson appeared to be in good health and good spirits for the upcoming season.

"The doctors told me that it would be four to six months until I was cleared to compete again," Johnson said. Now, just past the four—month marker, Johnson has been cleared to practice and ride broke horses.

Johnson expressed caution by sitting out of some practice, saying he did not want to rush back into the season too soon.

"I would like to be able to walk when I am older," he said.

Going pro still a goal

While returning to the No. 1-ranked position is still possible, Johnson said he has his sights set further into his future. Johnson explained that after graduation his plans on wanting to pursue a professional career. He has met the requirements to obtain his Professional Bull Riding (PBR) rodeo card by earning enough money in amateur events. All he must do is buy the card and attend the events. But Johnson also shared his plans for returning home to North Platte, Neb., to attend to his leather shop.

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