CBN.com Eight seconds can be a long time when you’re sitting on top of a raging bull, but it’s all in a day's work for professional cowboy Chad Eubank. When it comes to riding bulls, he’s one of the best. He showed me his collection of belt buckles, the trophies of the rodeo world.
Chad’s introduction into bull riding was anything but smooth.
"At eight years old, my dad took me to the local rodeo in Mansfield and put me on a calf. I cried. I was so scared and hit the ground pretty fast but kept going," Chad tells The 700 Club.
That was only the beginning of Chad’s love affair with rodeo.
"I started honing my skills at the high school rodeo arena every weekend. I didn’t miss a rodeo; that was my life. I started winning everything, and I think that was my gift from God."
But Chad got a wake-up call. He was failing school and changed his grade on his report card to stay in rodeo.
Chad says, " It embarrassed me when I got caught. I knew in my heart that it wasn’t right, but my heart was telling me that rodeo was all I had and that wasn’t true. Rodeo at that point in my life was No. 1. I lived for rodeo; everything I did was for rodeo. I gave up a lot for rodeo, and it cost me a lot."
Both the school and Chad’s father took rodeo away from him. That’s when he turned his life around.
"I started listening at the cowboy church every weekend. My grades came back up. I was the state and the national champion."
Chad went to college on a rodeo scholarship. His success in the arena was short lived.
"I pretty much turned into a party boy. My life was a wreck. I had no discipline. There was nothing professional about me. I know when I walked away from the Lord that my success in the arena walked away. I tried handling things my way. I made the decisions for everything, and it made it worse."
Then one of the most important men in Chad’s life passed away.
"My grandfather has always been a pretty important role model to me. He rode bulls, and I looked up to him for that. He gave me something more to look forward to, not the buckles and the saddles and the money that I've won. It's fun, but it's not going with me."
Losing his grandfather helped Chad re-align his priorities in life.
"God really used rodeo to talk to me," Chad says. "When I walked with Him, tried to follow the right way, tried to do everything His way, I was successful. When I wasn’t, I wasn’t successful. But He always forgave me. Rodeo has been my No. 1 priority. Now it's not my No. 1 priority, and I'm still happy."
With priorities in place, Chad is serious about using his talent for the glory of God.
"God’s gift to you is your talent; what you do with your talent is your gift to God. My gift from God was to be able to ride bucking horses, broncos and wild bulls. How I use that for Him was my gift back, and by me winning rodeos, because of Him, His way, I can tell all the kids around about Him."
Speaking to and mentoring young rodeo stars is just one opportunity Chad has to share his faith. Competing in the reality show, Toughest Cowboy, is another. So what exactly does it take to be a tough cowboy?
"A lot of heart, a lot of understanding that this isn’t a normal way of life," Chad replies. "You gotta be tough… being tough is just part of being a cowboy."
Chad is sure of his calling.
"I didn’t choose this way of life. I feel like it was appointed to me. [I] never had any interest in anything other than what I'm doing. I didn’t choose this; I really feel like it chose me! God’s given me happiness that nothing, nobody, no rodeo, no money could ever give me."
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