It's not called Bull Ridin', it's called Rodeoin'.
Get a mental picture of a cross between the most commonly known image of Jesus and Bo Bice and you have Robbie Amonett.
He's rodeoed all over the country. And has tattoos of some of his rides. He once scoured the parking lot of a Wal-Mart to gather the funds to enter a rodeo. He picked up $90. And won $5000.
Gotten stranded in Oregon by accepting a (one-way) plane ticket from an internet girlfriend who was (unbeknownst to him) married. Since he had $5 in his pocket and couldn't afford the plane ticket home, she "kept him" (as she fully intended) for a few months while he saved up money to get back home.
He has worked as a welder off shore and on. While working off-shore, he discovered a talent for art by copying the most prolific art on the boat; pornography. He drew pictures, cut them out and covered the wall with them. His boss came into his quarters one day and told him he should go to college to study art. And here he is in Montevallo, studying art. He also has a business degree.
He once accepted a plane ticket from a former boss to go to the Virgin Islands to work. He lived there for a year building a casino at St. Croix.
He's written humorous poetry about the life he lived while he was rodeoing. Traveled with Chris Shivers and attended a bull riding camp put on by Tuff Hedeman. He's been to Brazil to study with Adriano Moraes and other Brazilian riders.
Old love letters and pictures of him as a kid, photos of his family, old girlfriends, of his bull riding days, and various other memorabilia fill his photo albums.
The apartment he lives in is three rooms in a basement. There is no TV, no internet service, no phone (other than his cell). His music is played on a turn table with albums purchased for 50 cents from the thrift store. His power bill is $29 per month.
Smiles come easily, and laughter too. Mild mannered and a Southern Gentleman, as he calls himself.
He has lived in San Diego, Ft. Worth, Mississippi, Oregon (see above), the Virgin Islands (see above again), and other places I haven't learned about yet.
He's been married before, and divorced a year later. He found out his wife was having an affair beginning two weeks after they were married. In his words, with a laugh he tells me "At least somebody was gettin' some. ‘Cause I sure wasn't".
He is a vegetarian. but does not condemn those who are not. He, in fact, called me a smart ass when I offered him some bacon once.
One week he camped at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
He was a roadie for a band for about a year. Traveling all over the southeast. He has just started playing bass guitar for a band and which has their first gig in a few weeks.
Tonight he made shadow puppets on the ceiling using a candle and a wine bottle opener and made me laugh out loud.
Smoking dope should not be illegal according to him. One should be able to grow their own for personal use. With which I do not disagree.
He has a kitten named Nugget who has the run of the house.
There is no door to his bedroom. Only hanging "hippie beads." And he has a Glade Air Freshener that lights up with different colors. Says he might get some more just for the fun of it.
The fridge does not have any beer or alcohol. Soy milk and Cherrywine colas.
He's lived in the hayloft of various barns and other sundry places.
Today he purchased a book about building a house out of organic materials and wants to live independent of the confines of those things commonly taken for granted today. His plan is to be completely self-sufficient so, as he says, when the end time comes, he won't have to depend on anyone to supply his needs.
He has lived more in his 31 years than I will ever live in my lifetime.
Robbie is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. I will, one day, persuade him to put his stories to paper.