NORTH PLATTE, Neb. - Dustin Elliott, born and raised in John Day, definitely wasn't done winning when he earned the professional rodeo title of 2004 World Champion Bull Rider.
This year, on Feb. 4, he rode two tough bulls to earn the overall 2010 Seminole Hard Rock San Antonio "Xtreme Bulls" bull riding title. Elliott was up against former Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) World Champions. Wesley Silcox placed second, and J.W. Harris, third.
The experienced professional rider took home a prize of $18,617 for riding two well-known bulls. He scored 88 points on Andrews Rodeo's "Bootlegger" in the first round, and 88.5 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo's "Scent Loc" in the finals.
Elliott, the grandson of Betty and Dean Elliott of John Day, believes in setting goals, and is well on his way toward completing a big one.
"I want to make the PBR (Professional Bull Riders) Finals and the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) in the same year. In history there has only been five to 10 guys to ever do it," he said from his home in North Platte. The most recent rider to do that did it six years ago, Elliott added.
The 28-year-old prides himself on setting goals.
"I always have and always will. Anytime I talk to kids I tell them that," he said. "Not setting goals for yourself is like driving at night with your lights off. You're moving but you don't know where you are going."
And so, to accomplish this, he plans to ride "as many bulls in as many places as I can."
"I have been getting on bulls consistently for 13 years now," said Elliott.
In addition to his 2004 PRCA World Bull Riding Champion title, Elliott has many other accomplishments to his name. He was 2007 PBR (Professional Bull Riders) World Finalist, three-time NFR Qualifier (2004-2006), 2004 Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo Champion, 2002 Bullriders of America Champion, 2002 Extreme Bullriding Tour Champion, 2001 College National Champion, and three-time CNFR Qualifier (2001-2003).
As a freshman at Chadron State College in Chadron, Neb., Elliott met his wife Cynthia, of Maxwell, Neb. They each studied education. Cynthia teaches business at North Platte High School. While Elliott majored in health, physical education and recreation to also become a teacher, he and Cynthia decided he should pursue bull riding, which was proving more lucrative, while he can.
"Bull riding is time-sensitive, you can only do it for so long," he said.
Elliott, who turned pro in 2000, took a break from the PRCA when the couple's children Ethan and Emma, now 3, were born.
While he will one day turn toward teaching, bull riding is definitely his "day job." Elliott participated in enough rodeos to maintain his world champion exemption status to enter the Xtreme Bulls events.
He now looks to fulfill his goal of making the dual finals.
"I am 28 now and don't want my body to be completely broken down when I quit. I want to enjoy life after bull riding. I want to be able to go to all the T-ball games and dance routines that my kids are in. I don't want to be doing this just 'cause I feel I have to, or it's the only thing I've done for most of my life. I don't see myself quitting any time soon. I have a few goals in mind," he said.
"Xtreme Bulls" aired on ESPN2 last Sunday. It will be re-aired on ESPN network.