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No bull! When disaster strikes, he puts it all on the line

Staff writer

Professional bull rider Devin Hutchinson, 27, of Hillsboro, is in Tampa, Florida, this week doing the other thing he loves: he’s working disaster relief after Hurricane Ian. His other love is helping restore people’s power as a lineman for Line Tech Services in Oklahoma City.

He spends an equal amount of time in each endeavor.

He started both as professional endeavors in 2016 but began riding bulls through 4-H at age 17.

“Bull riding is fun, and power line work is serving the public,” he said.

He has competed in hundreds of professional bull riding competitions.

Having a second profession for the day when his body no longer will withstand the rigors of bull riding is security for his future, Hutchinson said.

“It’s been fun,” he said. “It’s been a journey. It’s a wild life. I never planned it to be this way, but that’s the way it is.”

Going to bull riding competitions works with his lineman job because his supervisors know when a competition is scheduled. When he’s working the scene of disaster, however, bull riding takes a back seat.

“Now, in a big event like this, I’m in lineman mode,” he said. “This is what I do.”

Damage from hurricane Ian is the worst he’s seen and co-workers with as long as 40 years in the field say the same thing. He estimates he’ll be doing hurricane relief at long as a month and a half.

His crew staged at Fort Lauderdale. Roughly 20,000 people were out of power there.

He recently competed in a Professional Bull Riders competition in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. No scores were tabulated, but the three-member team representing America did well.

A top winner in a PBR competition could bring home as much as $12,000, he said, but he’s not yet come in first at a competition.

Top winners are on television regularly, he said.

An Emporia native, he came to Marion County first to work for the city of Marion, then moved to Hillsboro a year and a half ago.

“I love the community,” he said. “Even at Emporia, you feel like you’re in a small town. I enjoy the people in Hillsboro,. I enjoy the way people there and businesses treat you.”

Working as a bull rider has been an opportunity to make friends throughout the country, Hutchinson said.

He broke his hip in two places during a July competition and is still feeling pain from the injury. That doesn’t deter him.

“I love it so much that I want to be a part of it for the rest of my life,” Hutchinson said.

He estimates he’s got five good bull-riding years left, and then he’ll stay involved with the sport in other ways.

He wants to compete in Canada, Brazil, and Australia during the next five years.

“I think striving to be the best and doing the best you can is what’s important,” he said. “As long as you’re doing what you can, you’re doing the most.”

His parents weren’t thrilled when he started doing something as dangerous as bull riding, and they’ve had to bring him home from a hospital more than once. Nevertheless, they support that he’s doing what he loves.

“They preach safety every time I go to an event, just like when I go to a storm,” Hutchinson said.

Last modified Oct. 5, 2022

 

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