The urban cowboy : Kayum Hoque

The urban cowboy : Kayum Hoque

After years working as a photo copier mechanic, Kayum decided to take control of his life: Kayum Hoque took the bull by the horns and is on the verge of becoming Britain’s first ever professional bull rider. Here he tells the BBC News website about his exhilarating life change.

See more pictures of how Kayum became an urban cowboy.

My Dad is Bangladeshi and he met my mum when he came to England. I was born in Manchester and grew up there with my five brothers and sisters. I’m the second youngest.

Growing up, I always felt different. I had a strange cultural background going on; culturally me and my brothers and sisters were a bit different. I had really good parents though and they always gave me confidence.

Kayum with his father in Manchester

Kayum with his father in Manchester

I didn’t like school much. I left with no real qualifications. The second I could leave school, I did. I got a job as an office junior and I did that for two years. Then I became an electrical mechanical engineer; I fixed photo copiers. I fixed photo copiers for seven years.

When I was about twenty years old, I decided it was time to clean up my act a bit. I wanted to stop drinking and partying too much. I got into martial arts and gymnastics. I found I was naturally good at it and really got into it.

Catching the bull riding bug

It wasn’t enough for me though and I still felt that I wasn’t quite living the right life. My sister had moved to Canada and she suggested I take time out and join her for a few months. I had worked since I had left school and just felt really stressed by the rat race and city living. I went to visit her for three months but three months turned into six months, six months turned into a year. I’ve been in Canada now for three years.

It was just so different from my old life spent drinking beer in Manchester pubs

I started to teach kick-boxing and one of my students was a horse stunt rider, she was really into rodeo. When the rodeo came to High River where I live, I decided to go along. It was just the best thing I had ever seen. I thought it was amazing. When you see a guy roll a cow over, it’s incredible. It was just so different from my old life spent drinking beer in Manchester pubs. I knew it was the craziest thing I had ever seen. I thought to myself, I reckon I could do that.

I went to visit another rodeo and that’s when I gave it a go. I rode a cow. The chute gate opened, out came the cow and I reckon I lasted a second! I got up and wanted more. I rode three cows that day and then I moved on to riding bulls later. I got the bug then and wanted to start competing.

Family reaction

Bull-riding makes me feel alive. It’s an extreme sport and one of the hardest sports you can be involved in. It’s 90% psychology. I never thought I would do this. I’m on the verge of getting my pro-riding card. There’s money in the sport but I still have a day job. All I can think about is being professional and leading the way for other British people to come over and compete.

My friends and family think I’m crazy. My mum is worried about me getting injured because, let’s face it, people die doing this. She’s also very proud. To be honest, my mum would be proud of me whatever I did. She’s always said that it’s not what you achieve but who you are that matters in life. I am very ambitious though.

A true Canadian

I started this sport late. Others started when they were teenagers and have been doing it for most of their lives. I think though that my martial arts training has really helped me to catch up; I’ve been doing this for just two and a half years and I’m nearly at pro level.

Kayum at the rodeo.

Kayum at the rodeo. Picture: Neville Palmer

Everyone knows me on the circuit. I’m part Bangladeshi and I’ve got an English accent so I stand out but I have been welcomed with open arms. Some people can be a bit funny but on the whole everyone has been really supportive and helpful. One of the seasoned riders said to me that it’s the person with the biggest heart who wins.

I came to Canada and I hated country music, cowboy hats and cowboy boots; now I wear a hat, boots and listen to country music. I also do the two-step! Canada has given me my home, my music, my sport and my girlfriend.

Kayum Hoque will be competing in the Nanton Nite Rodeo and the Foothills Cowboy Association Rodeo. The BBC news website will be following his progress.

You can hear Kayum Hoque speaking Friday morning at 0215 BST on BBC 5 Live Up All Night.

Link requested by Omar Rahman | original source

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