Photo courtesy of Andy Watson
After two weeks sitting out of competition, his hometown devastated by Hurricane Harvey, Bryan Titman is ready to get back on the bull.
“I might be a tad rustier,” said the cowboy, who’s ranked 155th in the PBR standings.
He canceled two rodeo appearances: one because the roads were flooded, another because he was stuck in the tropical storm that dumped 50 inches of rain and claimed 39 lives. Harvey hit Titman’s hometown of East Bernard, Texas, in late August. The town was only an hour away from where the storm made landfall on the Gulf of Mexico. Being surrounded by three rivers, East Bernard saw the worst of it.
“The water was up to my chest and I’m every bit of 5’10,”” Titman said. “Other places, you’d put in a stick that was every bit of 10 feet, and it was well past the top.”
Titman watched the water rise to his doorstep, but thankfully it didn’t enter the dwelling or cause any damage. The same couldn’t be said for most of East Bernard’s 400 residents.
Fretting for his neighbors, Titman and his friends grabbed a boat and headed out to help. In the end, they rescued about 30 folks from the floodwaters, and relocated herds of cattle and horses that were “swimming up to their necks,” he said.
Titman has family, located on the other side of town, who were among those devastated by the storm. The water rose to their rooftop, where they gathered until rescued by boat.
“They lost everything,” Titman said, but he’s not worried about their recovery. “They’re as strong as me. That’s how we are. That’s how I was raised: We just take stuff as it is.”
Titman said that is the tone of the whole town right now. They have to drive more than an hour to buy groceries, but no one seems to be upset or depressed.
Titman too believes he’ll be able to keep his head clear for his ride on Monday night at the PBR Classic at Happy Canyon Arena.
“When it comes to me riding bulls and the eight-second task at hand, I’m always able to zone in,” he said. A win would be a welcome blessing. Titman said he’d put prize money to good use, splitting it between folks at home and the victims of recent Oregon wildfires.
“The lord’s blessed me to do what I do,” he said. “I want to give back. I just like helping folks regardless of what it is.”