When Ty Portenier autographed a picture and gave it to his son Brady, he had no idea of the lasting impression that would make.
Ty was a bull rider in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in the late 1990s and early 2000s. His young son Brady would tag along with him and along with other rodeo kids would sneak behind the chutes and get glimpses of what it would be like to be a rodeo cowboy. Brady’s mom, Samantha, competed in barrel racing. Going to rodeos was a family affair that included Brady and his two sisters.
One of those trips was to the Columbia River Circuit Finals, where Ty drew the legendary bull Yellow Jacket. Yellow Jacket was the 1999 world champion bucking bull. Owners Big Bend and Flying Five Rodeo companies make their headquarters in Washington, so he was a regular at the circuit finals as well. When Ty Portenier’s name was beside the bull, there were probably a lot of skeptics in the audience.
Ty rode Yellow Jacket. They printed pictures of the ride and people were asking for Ty’s autograph. He took one of those pictures and signed it for his son, “Brady, Always Try,” then added his name.
The aura that is around the rodeo arena drew the youngster in, and it wasn’t long until he was following in his father’s footsteps. When he turned 18, he bought his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association permit and got his first (and so far, only) tattoo.
Brady took that autograph picture to a tattoo artist and now, he has his dad’s handwriting reminding him to “Always Try” permanently stamped on his torso.
“I always want to try hard and now I have a constant reminder with me,” Brady said. “I had that picture forever and had thought about getting a tattoo that said ‘Always Try.’ I like the way it turned out and it makes me think about what else I might get.”
As a former bull rider, Brady’s dad is definitely a fan of his son’s activities in the rodeo arena, his tattoo maybe not so much.
“He’s not a big fan of tattoos,” Brady said. “But, it’s kind of a tribute to him. My parents probably weren’t very happy about it, but they weren’t mad either.”
That ‘Always Try’ sentiment has come in handy for Brady since he got the tattoo. Shortly after joining the PRCA, Brady joined the injured reserve list. He bucked off of a bull and before he could get away, the bull came down on his leg. Surgery fixed the leg, but it took a while for Brady to get back to 100 percent.
In 2016, he finished in the top 35 in the world standings. A year later he was in the crying hole at number 16. Last year he was in the top 20 and is on the bubble once again for this year’s NFR.
If Brady remains healthy, it is only a matter of time until he makes that trip to Las Vegas to compete at rodeo’s championships. And when he does, it will probably be time to make another trip to the tattoo shop.
“There’s always a chance of getting a tattoo of my back number,” Brady said. “I have ideas all the time. I always wanted a wolf head with a cowboy hat too. That would be a reminder to be a wolf and go ride.”
Brady won’t ever be the guy that has full sleeve’s or a lot of tattoos. If he gets more, they will be well thought out and will have inspiration behind them that can be passed down to the next generation.