Former Rifle High student set to compete in Professional Bull Riders World Finals |

Former Rifle High student set to compete in Professional Bull Riders World Finals

Taylor Cramer
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Colten Fritzlan keeps steady while attempting to break the eight second mark while competing.
Bull Stock Media/Courtesy

Former Rifle High School student Colten Fritzlan will compete in the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) World Finals on Friday in Fort Worth, Texas.

Carrying an extensive resume that saw the 23-year-old capture two Colorado junior high titles as a bull rider, two Colorado State High School Rodeo Association titles, as well as two Southwest Region titles during his time in Colorado, Fritzlan has continued to rack up accolades in the bull riding world.

Following a rodeo scholarship to Western Texas College, Fritzlan later saw himself capturing the 2020 Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Rookie of the Year award before being drafted fifth overall in PBR’s inaugural Team Series Draft to the Missouri Thunder in 2022.

Also qualifying for the PBR World Finals in 2021, injuries prevented the Grand Junction native from having the opportunity to compete in the event. Now, opportunity is everything.

“This is extremely important to me and it’s something that I have wanted to do ever since I was 7 years old,” Fritzlan said. “I know how good I ride, and I say that humbly, but it’s time for me to do my job at the finals and see where I end up.”

Currently sitting as the No. 22 bull rider in the world, others within the bull riding world know the talent Fritzlan carries. Missouri Thunder co-head coach Luke Snyder said that talent has earned Fritzlan a nickname on the team.

“We gave Colten the nickname ‘Clutch’ because he came in clutch and he won a couple games for us last year when it mattered most,” Snyder said. 

Aside from Fritzlan’s ability within the arena, Snyder said he is equally as impressed with how Fritzlan has grown outside of the arena.

“You see him trying to get better as a bull rider every day, but you also see him continue to grow as a leader,” Snyder said. “Seeing him come out of his shell and become a leader in the locker room has been exciting to see.”

Snyder also said he is proud of Fritzlan for battling the adversity he has had to face in recent years.

“He’s had to battle through some serious injuries and I’m super proud of him for going through the process to make sure he is fully healthy,” Snyder said. “There are thousands of bull riders in the world and only 35 guys make this event, so it really shows how much he has battled.”

Despite battling injuries, which included a severe concussion during the 2022 PBR Team Series, Fritzlan is feeling as healthy as ever.

“I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been. I’m riding well and my mindset is good,” Fritzlan said. “I know it’s the world finals, but I’m looking at this as just another bull ride. I’m looking forward to my first run and staying consistent and doing my job.”

Attributing the well-being of his body to MVP Athlete Training Center in Stephenville, Texas, Fritzlan said the training facility, which was started by Fitness Trainer Shane Freels, centers his exercises around ways to benefit him during bull riding.

Aside from his workouts, which he says take place three times a week, Fritzlan said he is also trying to work on his mind.

“Bull riding is a taxing sport, so I’ve been trying to work on my mind a lot as well,” he said. “Riding my horses bareback, listening to audio books and writing my goals down, I’m always trying to get better in any way I can.”

The world finals, which will begin Friday and continue through May 21, will be the final event before the PBR Team Series begins for the 2023 season. Following the world finals, Fritzlan will have time to rest and train before returning in July for a chance to help the Missouri Thunder capture the PBR Team Series Championship in Las Vegas in October.