The standing ovation, rippling throughout the packed grandstands at Flathead County Fairgrounds, was loud and proud.
Battling bruised ribs and an injured lung and hobbled by a ruptured wrist tendon that’s undergone multiple surgeries but just won’t fully heal, Beau Hill climbed atop a professional-grade, snot-snorting bull one last time in Kalispell.
He didn’t last eight seconds. He lasted 20 years.
(PHOTO CREDIT GREG LINDSTROM | FLATHEAD BEACON)
The affable family man from Columbia Falls, who rose to fame as a talented teenager and defied the odds by carving out a spectacular career as one of the best professional bull riders in the world, is finally hanging up the spurs.
Hill, 38, competed on the final night of the PRCA Rodeo at the Northwest Montana Fair on Aug. 19 and received a well-deserved tribute from the crowd, which included family and friends who witnessed his last professional ride in Kalispell.
“I just decided that would be as good a place as any, a hometown rodeo. It was a good spot to do it and it was pretty awesome to do it in front of family and friends,” Hill said.
The following week he traveled to Australia and rode another bull before returning home to his wife, Keri, and their three kids: LaKia, Jace and Jory.
“I’m pretty much going to call it quits,” he said last week after being back with his family.
“I’m not saying I won’t ever get on another bull, but I’m done as a professional. I’m never going to make another run at anything.”
It’s been quite the ride in one of the roughest, most dangerous sports.
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