Meeteetse Bullfighter Dusty Tuckness - Wyoming’s Rodeo G.O.A.T. 

Forget Tom Brady … Wyoming’s G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) is 36-year-old Dusty Tuckness from Meeteetse, who has been selected 14 years in a row to fight bulls at the National Finals Rodeo.

Wendy Corr

April 15, 20236 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Forget Tom Brady… Wyoming’s G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) is 36-year-old Dusty Tuckness, who has been selected 14 years in a row to fight bulls at the National Finals Rodeo. The athlete from Meeteetse, who started fighting bulls when he was 12, is busier than ever, but took a few minutes out of his travel schedule to update Cowboy State Daily.

Dusty Tuckness is on the road again. From his home south of Oklahoma City, Tuckness is driving familiar highways to North Dakota, where he’ll square off against some of the toughest cattle in the state – all in the name of keeping bull riders safe. 

“Being able to go out there and put your own well-being in harm's way for the betterment of somebody else, that’s part of it,” Tuckness told Cowboy State Daily. 

The 36-year-old bullfighter never tires of putting himself in harm’s way. Despite a number of injuries – a broken leg in the 9th round of the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in 2021 put him out of the action for months – Tuckness sees his role in the rodeo community much like an EMT or other emergency services worker. 

“It is one of the most unselfish jobs out there,” he said, “stepping up to the plate when a lot of people don't want to.” 

Since becoming a professional rodeo athlete in 2006, Tuckness has been named the PRCA Bullfighter of the Year 10 ten times, and has earned the right to work at the “superbowl of rodeo,” the National Finals in Las Vegas, 14 times. 

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    (Cowboy State Daily Staff)
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Calling Wyoming Home 

Born in Dubois, Idaho, Tuckness moved to Meeteetse when he was a freshman in high school. It was in Wyoming that he was introduced to the rodeo world through his dad, “Timber” Tuckness, who was also a bullfighter and rodeo clown. 

“I started fighting bulls when I was 12,” said Tuckness, “and I’ve been in some crazy situations since.” 

Although he graduated high school in Meeteetse and attended Northwest College in Powell, once he made rodeo his life, Tuckness discovered that Wyoming wasn’t the most convenient home base. So he threw in with some of his bullfighter buddies and moved to Oklahoma, near family friends Nikki and Maury Tate (owners of Mo Betta Rodeo company and the managers of the Cody Nite Rodeo). 

“We all just created a bond,” Tuckness said of his fellow bullfighters, “the same visions, the same goals that we all are striving for, and that’s what got me homesteaded out here now.” 

But Tuckness said he has a sense of pride in being associated with Team Wyoming and the rodeo community in the Cowboy State. 

“I think it's pretty cool, coming from one of the smallest states in the US, but having such a big impact,” he said. “Team Wyoming and the tourism office really brought a lot of light to how much support that we have from our small state. You see it every year at the national finals and various other rodeos.” 

More Years Left 

Tuckness said his 17 years in the arena have given him a perspective that only comes with experience. 

“You're going to learn and see a lot of things through 17 years and be a part of a lot of different things,” he said, “stuff that you wish you would have known when you were younger. But that's just some of the knowledge that you try to pass down to the guys that are coming up, to help them be successful and succeed in their craft.” 

But that doesn’t mean the 36-year-old athlete is slowing down. If anything, Tuckness said his training has intensified as his body gets older – swimming, biking, rowing, and lifting, as well as continued education in fitness and anatomy. 

“I want my training to be harder than my job, so I kind of try to prepare myself for situations that I'd never get myself into – physically, mentally and spiritually,” he said. “And the bulls always teach me something.” 

Tuckness said his experience and training is what allowed him to rebound from breaking both the long bones in his left leg during the NFR in 2021. 

“I had some hardships and adversities when I was young, even when I was still in high school, that I think helped prepare me physically and mentally for something like what happened in 2021,” he said. “True character is found on the other side of adversity.” 

Tuckness said he doesn’t let his long list of injuries – from the broken leg to a broken shoulder blade and multiple different broken bones – affect his outlook. 

“At the end of the day, it's part of the sport, and you've got to have a peace about yourself that it can happen again,” he said. “And if you don't, I think you hold on to it, and then that's when you can be hesitant, and you don't step forth.” 

And Tuckness said he’s going to continue to get in the arena as long as God lets him – so he hasn’t put a timeline on retirement. 

“That's His blueprint, not mine,” he said. “But I still feel like I'm in my early 20s – I feel like I can get around just as good as anybody can right now.” 

Tuckness estimates he works around 180 performances a year, with only a few weeks of light duty in the spring and fall, and then the three weeks after the NFR, to enjoy time at home. 

“From January all the way to the first of April I work pretty solid, and then when June 1 comes, I don’t get home until the end of September,” he said. “I've been overly blessed for over a decade to be able to be that busy, and really be that healthy as well.” 

On Jan. 17, Tuckness marked his 400th performance at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo – one of many milestones in a storied career.  

“I'm really just a kid, still living in a dream that he had when he was young,” said Tuckness. “Just to really be a part of this sport, and this atmosphere, and partake in some of the stuff I have been able to – it's truly a blessing more than anything.” 

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Wendy Corr

Broadcast Media Director