EFFINGHAM (WCIA) — There’s a certain thrill that Parker Wolfe gets during the offseason. It doesn’t even compare to the feeling he gets on the field or the court, because during the summer the Effingham multi-sport standout is riding bulls.
“It’s really not like any other sports I play,” says Wolfe. “It’s always real fast, it’s just a big adrenaline rush. I think it’s cool whenever you do get one rode, that you can say you just rode a wild animal that’s 15-hundred pounds.”
Wolfe lives on his family’s cattle farm in Dieterich, IL just 10 miles south of Effingham. He first thought about riding just two years ago. Wolfe taught himself through YouTube videos, and practiced on barrels for a year, before getting on his first live bull at a Rodeo last summer.
“I’ve been around local rodeos when I was younger, but then I just got the urge to go out there and try it, and feel in love,” says Wolfe. “Like they say, ‘the first one, and you never go back.”
Now, he’s riding in as many as three rodeos a week, all over the state. They even built a ring on the family farm, and bought a handful of bucking bulls to practice with.
“I like to take pretty good care of them, they’re like our pets, but I actually ride them too,” says Wolfe.
But the thrill of the sport doesn’t come without risk, and it’s something his brother Garrett also knows firsthand after he starting riding this year.
“I was riding in a rodeo, and my hand got stuck in my rope, and he threw me up, and my leg came down on his head, I broke my tibia and my fibula,” says Garrett.
Garrett had surgery last month, and he’ll be out until October. But for for the Wolfe brothers, trying to reach the standard of an 8 second ride is a challenge well worth it.
“I plan to do it long-term, I hope I can go to college for it maybe,” says Garrett.
“I plan to take it a few more years, see how far I advance in my skills, and if I start really start picking it up, I plan to do it full time,” says Parker.
While Parker’s career is just getting started, he’ll take a break come the fall. In August, he’ll put down the cowboy boots and head to Illinois Wesleyan to play his first season of college basketball.