FARMINGTON — Guytin Tsosie fell in love with rodeo when he was a child.
At the age of six Tsosie entered his first rodeo. Starting small Tsosie worked his way up from cows to steers to junior bullriding before making the jump to open bull riding in 2008.
The Navajo from Burnham said his passion came from his late older brother, Nelson.
"He taught me everything I know," Tsosie said of Nelson. "I kind of fell in love with bull riding and rodeo at a young age and it's paying off."
Now, 16 years after his dad took him to that first rodeo, the 22-year-old Tsosie said everything is connecting well as he works his way up the bull riding world rankings, where he currently holds the 32nd position.
After winning the International Indian Finals Rodeo last year Tsosie earned a spot at the Professional Bull Riders', or PBR, Ty Murray Invitational held March 21 to 23 in Albuquerque. At his first PBR event Tsosie placed seventh, completing two of his four rides with scores of 85.50 and 88.75.
"It was bigger than a bonus," Tsosie said of getting his shot on the PBR in his home state. "Everything just fell into place. It was an amazing feeling."
Tsosie's seventh-place performance was enough to receive invites to the PBR's next three events. If he did well enough the PBR circuit would keep him on tour.
After failing to score in his second event in Fresno, Calif., Tsosie returned to form at the tour's next stop, the Dewalt Guaranteed Tough Invitational in Nampa, Idaho. He placed third, his best finish of the season, and earned 572.75 points.
The Dewalt event sparked the first of three straight top-10 finishes for Tsosie with a sixth-place finish in Billings, Mont., and a tie for ninth in Des Moines, Iowa.
"I guess it was momentum," Tsosie said. "I just kept on going and I just kept feeding off of what type of bull rides I was making. I just tried to carry it on to the next bull and it worked out."
Since the first event in Albuquerque, Tsosie's world ranking isn't the only thing on the rise.
Tsosie is rapidly becoming one of the more popular riders on tour, impressing fans with his humble, soft-spoken demeanor as much as his ability.
Currently the PBR website has Tsosie listed as injured but he said there is no reason why he won't be in action when the Built Ford Tough Series continues in August.
"I'm not injured. People have been saying that to me but I'm really not injured," Tsosie said. "My groin has kind of been bugging me, but it's not enough to set me aside."
In his short time on the PBR tour, Tsosie said the best experiences are being back in the shoots and learning. His more experienced counterparts have welcomed him and have taught him how to carry himself around other people, and most importantly, to enjoy the experience.
"It's an amazing feeling just to be on that circuit," said Tsosie, who's ranked fourth among rookies on the PBR circuit. "It's advertised as the best bull riding, and best bull riders, in the world. It's a dream come true because I'm a part of it now and I'm having basically all my goals answered. From here on out I just need to set new goals I guess."
Tsosie's new goals are simple, ride as many bulls as he can and ride them as well as he can.
"I'm going to try to get as many points as I can get," Tsosie said. "To be honest I'm just kind of getting adjusted. The whole thing is just starting to sink in right now. Hopefully I can get some things done."