Tye Chandler attempts to ride Cattle Co./Buck Cattle Co.'s SweetPro's Bruiser during the 15/15 round of the Sacramento Unleash the Beast Professional Bull Riders tour in 2018. Chandler is in Bangor this weekend competing on the PBR's Pendleton Whiskey Velocity Tour. Credit: Courtesy of Andy Watson

You would probably get a shorter answer if you asked professional bull rider Tye Chandler which bones he hasn’t broken as opposed to which ones he has.

“I’ve broken both arms, my hands, my ankle, my back in three places, my collarbone, and I fractured my hip and separated my shoulder. It’s crazy,” the 24-year-old from Celina, Texas, said.

Chandler is in Bangor for Professional Bull Riding’s Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour events on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon.

And a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee resulted in him dropping off the Unleash the Beast Tour, Professional Bull Riding’s top series, to the Whisky Velocity Tour, which is the PBR’s second level.

Chandler couldn’t earn enough points to remain in the Unleash the Beast Tour so he is trying to work his way back up by finishing among the leaders in the Whisky Velocity Tour.

Why does Chandler subject himself to that type of physical punishment?

“I love it. We’re made tough. The ultimate goal is to win the championship. But we aren’t there yet. I have to keep going,” Chandler said.

The is a PBR event in a different city virtually every weekend, although he said the top two tours slow down in the summer.

To prepare to ride bulls, Chandler said he works out during the week, although competitors usually don’t lift a lot of heavy weights.

“We do a lot of agility stuff. You have to have a fast reaction time,” Chandler said.

He said competitors also ride a barrel which simulates a bull’s side-to-side movement and ride bulls that are not as challenging as the animals on the tour.

Chandler said he researches the bull he is scheduled to ride the first night of a show after learning his draw midweek. Some riders prefer not to know about the bull.

“There is an actual website with a bull’s stats and with video of him. I look them up but don’t rely on it so much. It’s helpful if a bull has a trick, but it’s an animal so it might not do the same thing [when you ride him],” Chandler said.

The riders earn money and points at each event if they can stay on a bull for eight seconds.

“On a good day, you can earn $7,000 to $8,000,” Chandler said. “Because this is a three-day event instead of two, the purse is $30,000 instead of $20,000, so somebody will walk out of here with $10,000 to $12,000 this weekend.”

The money is better and the bulls are more challenging on the Unleash the Beast Tour, although they ride some of the same bulls in the Whisky Velocity Tour.

“The top 15 guys on the Unleash the Beast Tour earn $100,000 to $200,000 a year and the world champion earns a million dollars,” Chandler said.

He said being a good bull rider requires mental toughness.

“Everybody here knows how to ride a bull. But if you have any doubt whether or not you can ride a particular bull, you shouldn’t ride it. You have to be 100 percent committed,” Chandler said.

His dad and brother were bull riders, but a head injury ended his brother’s career.

Chandler earned a win on the Velocity Tour in Charleston, South Carolina, which enabled him to reach the Unleash the Beast Tour.

He began riding on a sheep when he was 3, graduated to a calf a year later and started with bulls with he was 11.

“I was scared of the sheep. I like the calves better,” he said.

He rode in Bangor two years ago and said it is one of his favorite venues.

“It sells out every year, and the energy level in the arena is very good. It gets crazy in this building,” Chandler said. “And the town is fun. There’s a lot of stuff to do here.”