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  • Writer's pictureRocci Stucci

From Bull Riding to Dancing with the Stars - Guest Bonner Bolton Joins Battle Scars Podcast

Bonner Bolton Bull Riding

Bonner Bolton Bull Riding


Between the years 2005 and 2013, Bolton rode bulls for 14 years. From 2007 to 2011, he qualified for the CBR World Finals five times and won the world championship in 2007. At the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January 2008, he took home the Findlay Toyota World Championship Bull Riding World Champion title. Bolton made his debut on the CBR season tour in 2013, riding each bull he drew to win a Hy O Silver buckle and cash. He won the Hobbs championship with a high score of 94.5 points on The Air Up There. He holds the title of world champion because his year-end total of $54,100 was higher than that of any other rider.

From 2007 to 2016, Bolton competed on the PBR circuit. He won the Velocity Tour event on February 14-15, 2015, at the Yakima Valley Sundome in Yakima, Washington, with a high ride of 90.5 points. He finished fourth at the Fresno, California Invitational, a Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS) elite tour competition, in March 2015. Bolton competed on the BFTS once more in October 2015, this time at the Cooper Tires Take the Money and Ride presented by Jack Daniel’s at the Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, Arizona, after recovering from an injury. His highest regular-season score, 88.25 on the bull LL Cool J, earned him victory in the championship round.

Bolton finished as the No. 1 team in the PBR BFTS world standings following the conclusion of the regular season. 34. Bolton had his best season to date in 2015, finishing 28th overall and climbing into the top 35 of the PBR World Standings. He achieved 12 qualified rides, 37 attempted rides, a riding average of 32.43 percent, and five top-10 finishes, all of which were career highs. He also rode the bull Walk Off for the first time in the BFTS, scoring 90 or more points, and he won round 2 and $30,000 for it. Taking into account his injuries and absence from six events, his fourth-place finish at the finals is significant. He was guaranteed eight BFTS events in 2016 with his 28th-place finish in the final season standings.

On January 10, 2016, John Bolton was leading the Chicago Invitational season opener at the Allstate Arena when he crashed on his head while riding the bull Cowboy Up. He was awake but had no sensation from his neck down. He was taken to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois, where doctors discovered he had broken his C-2 vertebra but that his spinal cord was still intact. On Tuesday, doctors operated on Bolton to fuse his C2 and C3 vertebrae, inserting a metal brace into the bones. He had to stay completely still for a month, but once released, he was still physically active, helping a friend install flooring and going for long walks.

During this difficult time, he received financial assistance from the Rider Relief Fund and Cowboys Helping Cowboys. Bolton was told he’d be able to return to bull riding in 4-6 months, but his sports doctor told him that if he broke something against his third vertebra, he’d never let him ride again.

WME/IMG, now known as Endeavor, signed an agreement to acquire the Professional Bull Riders on April 15, 2015. (PBR). Cass Bird, a photographer, photographed the bull riders at the world championship in 2015, and on May 19, 2016, IMG Models noticed and signed Bolton to a global modeling contract. He has modeled for Saks Fifth Avenue and posed shirtless for a Br4ss underwear campaign since joining IMG.

He was also featured in a print ad campaign for Boot Barn’s County Chic clothing. Bolton was named one of the new faces of American Eagle Outfitters’ new collection, “The New American Jean,” to be photographed by Cass Bird in July 2017. Bolton has been named “The Cosmo Guy” in the August issue of Cosmopolitan.

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