The Alberta rider from the little town of Amisk, said he looks at climbing on bulls as his job.
“It’s 100 per cent what I do for work . . . You have to treat everything as a business,” the 28-year-old told Yorkton This Week Thursday, the day before he would be in the city for the Mazergroup PBR event at the Grain Millers Harvest Showdown.
While Hansen did earn his welding degree from Red Deer College in 2016, it wasn’t something he was actually looking to do. It was sort of his parent’s idea “to go to college and take something.”
At 18, he actually had a job briefly welding “but pretty well not since,” he said.
Instead, he was focused on riding bulls.
“Mom was a barrel racer, that sort of got me into the rodeo lifestyle,” he said.
And then Hansen saw a movie.
“I grew up watching 8 Seconds too many times,” said Hansen.
The movie on the life of champion bullrider Lane Frost set him on the path to become a rider too.
At age 12, Hansen said he was riding steers.
It was a decision he said his barrel racing mom accepted at the time.
“When I was steer riding she wasn’t too concerned about it,” he said, adding his parents thought it gave him something to do at rodeos.
But at age 18 when Hansen started to climb on bulls the concern started to show up.
“They wished I’d taken up roping, or almost anything else,” said Hansen
But Hansen stayed with bulls, and today is maybe the most active rider in Canada hitting about 120 events a year.
So how does Hansen stay healthy enough to climb on upwards of 300 bulls a year?
“If you stay on and get off good it helps keep you healthy,” he said, but quickly added injuries are part of bullriding.
“In the sport it’s not if you get hurt, but when.”
That’s when some business acumen comes into play.
“You’ve got to make some good decisions,” said Hansen, adding riders need to know when to walk away from a rodeo or two to heal.
“But, you don’t get paid if you don’t ride so you try to find the balance.
It has certainly been a good year for Hansen so far.”
The decision is also business based on dollars too, noted Hansen. He might miss a smaller rodeo if he has a nagging injury, but would head to the chutes with the same injury if the next rodeo was a big payday.
Hansen cashed-in on one of those big paydays earlier this year topping the Calgary Stampede where he took home the $50,000 first place money.
Hansen said $50,000 can be life-changing for some and added “it was a big boost for me,” coming off the COVID-19 situation riders faced in 2020.
It was a huge win because it was THE Stampede too.
“The town I grew up in was only 40-mimutes away from the Stampede grounds,” he said. “. . . I grew up watching it on TV or driving to watch.”
So a Stampede win was something Hansen said “was definitely on the bucket list.”
Earlier in the season he won the Cranbrook (British Columbia) Pro Rodeo, and the Lewiston (Idaho) Roundup Division 2 Qualifying Event Xtreme Bulls.
Then on Halloween eve won the PBR Saskatoon Classic. He went a perfect three-for-three for the win which lifted him into the Top-5 in the race for the 2021 PBR Canada Championship.
Climbing into the Top-5 was big.
“I was rodeoing in the States 90 per cent of the year, so I was definitely a lot of events behind everybody else,” said Hansen, adding he’s excited to be headed to the final event of the year in-the-hunt.
Only one event remains before the 2021 PBR Canada National Finals, presented by Command Tubular Products, in Edmonton, Alberta, on Nov. 12-13 at Rogers Place when more than $175,000 will be awarded.
The Touring Pro Division is in Yorkton, an event Hansen said he’ll use to keep him sharp for Edmonton.
“For me, if I take a couple of weeks off I almost forget what I’m doing,” he said, adding a couple of good bulls in Yorkton “. . . is just what I need.”