photo © Charles Sykes
There were no adoring fans screaming or bright lights, just rushing flood waters and horses in need when Kody Lostroh saddled up Saturday in Colorado.
The 2009 PBR World Champion from Longmont was scheduled for another ride that day — on a 2,000 lb. bull in Missouri. He opted out of the bull riding event to return home.
“I couldn’t stand the thought of all of it going on while I was away,” said Lostroh, who is currently ranked 14th in the world rankings.
He and friends ventured into the bitterly cold rain. Authorities rescued people by choppers, while the group of cowboys used various methods to rescue livestock left behind east of Milliken. At one location, Lostroh said they brought in a boat, caught the horses, and rode them out of the treacherous flood waters. “The majority of the river flooding made it hard to cross, and not safe to be in. There were trees and debris under the water – one I was riding had to get stitched up.”
At least 15 horses and about 100 head of cattle were reunited with their owners, because of their efforts. “It was cool to see people come together and help each other. If they saw it needed to be done, they did it,” Lostroh said.
After days of riding out, he’s rotated through all of his horses. “It takes a special horse to go through these conditions.”
Unfortunately, his cattle operation didn’t fare as well as the general horse population in the area. His breeding bull died in the flood and Lostroh still hasn’t located all of his bucking bred cows. Eight remain missing or dead, including his most prized female.
“I’ve gone through a range of emotions this week. Everything from sad, mad, and determined. It has been challenging, but I’m thankful I was able to help and that people were here to help me too.”
Also helping horse owners is The Ranch in Loveland. The event facility is providing stabling to 25 horses, according to Director Bob Herrfeldt. At the height of the disaster, he said there were 40 large animals kept at the property, which is minimal compared to fire evacuations. “We don’t know what the situation is up in the Rockies, there are no roads and the phone lines are down.”
Flood waters continue to recede due to temperatures in the mid-80s. “It is getting better now, the water has dropped as much as 10 feet in some areas,” said Lostroh.
The PBR Built Ford Tough Series resumes this weekend, but Lostroh isn’t sure if he’ll get a go at his 8-seconds in Biloxi.
“I just don’t know yet.”