By LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — Former professional bull rider and Shoshone-Bannock tribal member Wiley Petersen believes being selected as the Team Wolves coach at the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Global Cup February 9 and 10 in Arlington, Texas, is both a great honor and an awesome opportunity.
The Global Cup is a nation versus nation international bull riding competition that features the top athletes from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States. Team Eagles and Team Wolves represent the United States each with seven riders. Justin McBride is coaching Team Eagles. The teams are competing for $750,000 total purse.
Wiley credits Indian National Finals Rodeo Board of Directors president Bo Vocu for his selection as Team Wolves coach.
Vocu said Wiley was the obvious selection for Team Wolves coach when discussions occurred about the possibility of having a Native team at the Global Cup over a year ago. “I mentioned to Sean Gleason (PBR CEO) we need a Native American team and we’ll win it.” He said a month later Gleason called him to confirm. Vocu suggested Wiley because he watched him grow up in the PBR. Vocu is the assistant coach for Team Wolves.
Wiley said it took him about a week to decide after he watched some videos of the Global Cup to really consider what it would take to be the coach. “I told them I would and there it went – it got rolling and I start putting together my team – it’s going to be an exciting event.”
Regarding Team Wolves, he said the first few were pretty easy picks, “The four guys at the top of the PBR standings right now – Ryan Dirteater, Keyshawn Whitehorse, Stetson Lawrence and Cody Jesus,” they kind of stood out and the top Native riders right now. After that he had to do a bit of digging and talking with people – who has the talent to be on our team to really ride these rank bulls in the Global Cup? That led him to Colton Jesse, Cannon Cravens and Justin Granger, along with Dakota Louis as the alternate. “It was a tough decision getting down to the last three or four riders – I had a big selection of riders so it was kind of tough to break it down.”
“I feel like we made the right selection with the right guys on the team and we’re going to represent the Native American community as a whole very well in Arlington.
Vocu said it’s exciting as a lot of the riders he got to watch or even competed against in bull riding. “Our riders – Team Wolves – have some of the hottest riders and it’s a really good opportunity. Every body is clicking right now and the time do it.”
Wiley Petersen with Team USA Wolves.
Team Wolves include: Ryan Dirteater who is Cherokee just won the PBR Express Ranches Invitational February 3 in Oklahoma City. He’s ranked fifth on the World Tour. Stetson Lawrence is Chippewa/Sioux and ranked 38 in the world. Keyshawn Whitehorse is Navajo and the reigning Rookie of the Year. His world ranking is 69. Cody Jesus, Navajo, is ranked seventh in the world and won the 15/15 Bucking Battle in Oklahoma City over the weekend. Cannon Cravens is Cherokee and ranked 15. Justin Granger, Navajo, is ranked 67. Colton Jesse is Potawatomi and ranked 33. Dakota Louis, Northern Cheyenne and Blackfeet, is the alternate and 130 in world ranking.
Wiley rode for 12 years on the PBR and won the PBR World Finals in 2007. He said he always got much love and respect from people especially when he went to other places such as New Mexico where there’s a big Native American community. Bull riding is a huge sport for Native Americans, he continued and the PBR Global Cup is going to be huge in Indian Country. “I had a nice long, 12-year career as a professional bull rider – I had a lot of fun, it was great, I went to a lot places and got to see a lot of things. I got to do what I love for a living,” he said.
However it came time when the injuries piled up on him, “It was just starting to wear down on me so I didn’t crave riding bulls like I used to so then I decided to retire in 2012,” Wiley explained. At that point, he needed to decide what to do for a living so he went back to school to study health care thinking it was the perfect job to help people. He decided to become a physician’s assistant graduating in August 2018. The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes hired him and now he’s waiting on paperwork to get on board. “I’m really excited to start working as a PA – just being involved in the community and being able to help people right where they’re at in a real tangible way.
He also wants to continue to be a part of the bull riding world putting on clinics and putting on the bull riding event during the Shoshone-Bannock Festival.
“A lot is going on,” Wiley said, “But life is good – there’s lots of opportunities out there and I think all of us need to just appreciate those opportunities we have – push ourselves to beyond the limits. Really just dream big and put forth the effort to make it happen.”