BILLINGS — When the PBR ignites in Billings on Friday night, there’s one Montana cowboy who’d love to leave his boot print on a breakout weekend.
Browning’s Dakota Louis is well aware that riding on the PBR Tour and staying on the PBR Tour are as different as horse and bull.
“I’ve been riding on the PBR since I was 18,” Louis told MTN Sports. “I’m 26 this year. I haven’t put in a full year on the PBR, though. It is tough. You get on the best bulls every weekend. And you have to stay up in the top 35 each weekend.”
Louis is in his ninth year of chasing full-time status on the PBR’s big tour. He’s been bouncing around the Touring Pro Division, PBR Canada, the Velocity Tour and even the PRCA. But in nine years, Louis’ total number of Unleash the Beast events? Six. This weekend makes seven.
“Yeah, I got an invite here this weekend, so (I’ll) definitely take advantage of the opportunity,” said the grateful Louis. “I’ve got a different mentality. I feel a lot better. I know I’m going to be here on the Unleash the Beast Tour a lot more often.”
What advice does a mainstay like Columbia Falls cowboy Matt Triplett, who once finished third in the world, offer?
“I don’t need to tell them nothing they don’t already know,” Triplett said of guys trying to crack the Unleash the Beast code. “He’s a handy bull rider and it’s going to be fun. I’m excited to have him on tour and hopefully he just stays on tour after this weekend because, being from Montana, he’d be a good roommate to have each weekend.”
Though Louis only has six stops on the big tour, he and Triplett know each other through Montana’s back roads.
“We did high school rodeo, junior high rodeo together,” Triplett recalled. “We even go in the summer time together, so, yeah, we’ve know each other for quite a while.”
Bouncing around tours, Louis hasn’t had the luxury of a consistent traveling partner for quite a while.
“Ahh, you know, there’s a lot of the other guys going to each event, so I just kind of see who’s all going,” he said.
While Louis tries to become a staple on tour, it’s not like he hasn’t been grinding. He’s a three-time Indian National Finals champion.
“Winning my first one was definitely a dream come true,” he said. “Growing up, my dad won two of them, so then the goal was to match him. When I did that and passed him by one, that just put the icing on the cake.”
And he still lets dad know about it.
“Oh, for sure,” Louis smiled.
He’s also one of the very few Native American riders to reach the PBR’s highest level.
“If you want it bad enough, you’ve got to go out and get it,” Louis said. “So, to have that Native pride on me gives me a little extra.”