PUEBLO, Colo. – Four-time PRCA champion bull rider and 2014 PBR Rookie of the Year J.W. Harris announced on his social media accounts Thursday that he is officially retiring from the sport.
Harris’ time in the PBR was brief (2014-2017), but the Texas native made sure to imprint himself on PBR fans and the sport during his four-year PBR stint with his old school, grizzled mentality.
Harris was 28 years old when he accepted an invitation to compete in three premier series events in March 2014 after winning four PRCA bull riding championships and qualifying for nine consecutive National Finals Rodeos. Harris went on to finish 2014 ninth in the world standings after going 4-for-6 at the PBR World Finals.
“I am glad I did it just that way,” Harris told PBR.com last year. “I didn’t always have that question in the back of my mind or regret of not ever going to the PBR. Don’t get me wrong. I had a good time while I was there. I won lots of money and got to get on some really good bulls. Then the injury bug hit, but that is always part of it. But, no, I am glad I did it.”
Harris’ World Finals performance earned him 3,736 points toward the world standings as he pulled off a remarkable come-from-behind run to usurp Gage Gay, Tanner Byrne and Brady Sims for Rookie of the Year. Harris finished only 95.13 points ahead of Gay in the closest Rookie-of-the-Year race since the PBR switched to a points-based system in 2013.
The comeback was highlighted by Harris’ career-high 93.25 points on Honey Hush in the championship round.
“That kind of put a sock in the mouth to some of the people that said that I didn’t belong in the PBR because I wouldn’t good enough to be there,” Harris said three years ago. “That one right there kind of stands out in my mind.”
The next year Harris showed he certainly had what it took to compete alongside the PBR’s best.
All three of his career wins came during the 2015 season in which he put himself just on the edge of the world title race with two victories in September.
Harris finished a career-best 29-for-78 and finished seventh in the world standings.
“I have no regrets,” said Harris. “Hell, I know I left it all out there every time I got on a bull. Yeah, I wanted to win a world title and it was obviously not meant to be. That is one thing I don’t have is any regrets because I do leave it out there every time I get on one.
“If I had to do it all over again, I would have done it exactly the same way. I don’t regret not coming over any sooner. At the end of it, I did bless myself with a chance to win a world title and it just didn’t happen.”
Harris was 58-for-166 (34.52 percent) with three PBR World Finals qualifications, three 90-point rides and three event wins on the PBR premier series.
The now 34-year-old last qualified for the PBR World Finals in 2017. He rode Beaver Creek Beau for 87.5 points in a gutsy effort after he spent the majority of that year riding through a groin strain and torn abdominal muscle. In 2016, Harris was limited to three events because of left hip surgery and then a life-threatening car crash.
Harris may not have won a PBR world title, but he still retires as one of the most decorated bull riders in the sport.
Harris’ four PRCA bull riding championships is the third most in PRCA history, trailing only his idol Donnie Gay (8 PRCA championships) and Sage Kimzey (6 PRCA championships). Harris also won the bull riding average at the NFR two times (2008 and 2010).
Article Courtesy of PBR
Photo By: Andy Watson/Bull Stock Media