Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 19: Retired Professional Bull Rider Michael Gaffney

Men’s Journal’s Everyday Warrior With Mike Sarraille is a new podcast that inspires individuals to live more fulfilling lives by having conversations with disrupters and high performers in all walks of life. In our nineteenth episode, we spoke to Michael Gaffney, retired World Champion bull rider.

Listen to the full episode above (scroll down for the transcript) and see more from this series below.

This interview has not been edited for length or clarity.


Mike Sarraille:

And welcome back to the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior podcast. Um, I’m excited about this one, cuz you are the first legitimate cowboy I’ve I’ve had on. I love it. I mean, I got a country music star that sits in pretty much all the, the local ones drew fish. Yeah. But, um, you know, I don’t know much about the PBR. It, it fascinates me from the sense of who in their right mind gets on a what what’s the average weight? 1500, 1860 1800.

Michael Gaffney:
Yeah, sure enough. A lot.

Mike Sarraille:
You know, people like to look at me and say, you know, you guys were crazy. And I mean, in all rights, the guys I served with were professional gun fighters, but when you’re a team of 40, uh, badasses and you’re going against the enemy, I mean we’ve mitigated risk before we even step outside the wire. So it’s,

Michael Gaffney:
I mean, it’s amazing the similarities really. And I think in the mindset in, in, in that fear factor, as far as, you know, compartmentalizing, you know, what you’ve gotta do going to, you know, and I would never even try to, you know, put in my head, which you guys have, have been through. Um, my dad was an air force fighter pilot in Vietnam and, and uh, God

Mike Sarraille:
Bless

Michael Gaffney:
Just, uh, you know, and something, I, I really truly admired you guys and what you guys did and do. And um, so I would never put the two of us together, but as far as the mindset in that kind of fear, fear, and trying to put it somewhere,

Mike Sarraille:
I, you know, I appreciate that. Um, but the variables we deal with, I mean, we got good at mitigating those variables. I mean, you can never reduce risk, but you’re stepping on a, a wild animal that I, you know, I don’t know if the B bowls want to hurt whoever’s on their back if that’s in their nature. But I mean, you you’re dealing with a beast for which you just can’t account for, for those factors,

Michael Gaffney:
Man. And maybe that’s, maybe that’s a little bit of the draw is just the, the unknowing and, and, and, and you go in knowing that one thing that there is no knowing because they are a living, breathing animal that has, uh, every intention of, of getting rid of you and basically getting the, the hell out of there and that’s, and that’s their job. And, and they’ve the, the bulls nowadays have been, have been raised since they were just, uh, young, young babies to, to buck. And that’s what they are. Um, so they’re not beef cattle, they’re hybrid type cattle and, and their sole purpose is to buck you off.

Mike Sarraille:
So I know the athletes, the riders have gotten better. Yes. So of the bulls.

Michael Gaffney:
Sure. Oh yeah. We’re, we’re, we’re having a hard time keeping up with the bull power. Let’s put it this way and they’re, they’re winning, they’re definitely winning the percentages have gone down and, uh, you know, the, the human body can only put up with so much physical damage. So

Mike Sarraille:
It’s, uh, totally understand that aspect. Well, I’m also excited because I, I really consider the Austin. Gambler’s really Austin’s first professional team. I, I, I know there’s some soccer team I’ve heard about no disrespect to Matthew McConaughy <laugh>, um,

Michael Gaffney:
Appreciate

Mike Sarraille:
That, but I’ll say the first American professional sports team

Michael Gaffney:
Team, and we are, we are, even though, you know, our first draft pick is from Brazil, but he would, he, he doesn’t even wanna go back to Brazil. He’s an American, he wants to be an American.

Mike Sarraille:
We, we actually have a, a Brazilian in the crowd right here in ni era. So she’s, uh, she’s smiling at that one. Okay. But I can understand that you come to, you know, the land of opportunity he’s rushing it. Why, you know, why would he want to go back? They

Michael Gaffney:
Don’t.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. Yeah. It makes sense. So, Michael, your, your life and your career in PBR is pretty damn fascinating, but let’s go back to New Mexico. And, and did I read this correctly? Your first, uh, pony was named popcorn

Michael Gaffney:
Popcorn two, two and a half years old. And, and my mother was the antagonist to that. My dad was a fighter pilot, a baseball player out of Iowa, no rodeo ranching background whatsoever. And, uh, popcorn farmer, uh, farmer grew up on the farm corn fields of Iowa. Big strapping was throwing the ball really, really fast, uh, got drafted into, to possibly play in the majors to play baseball. And at the same time, it got drafted in the Korean war and had a deferment because he was in college. Um, anyway, long story short ended up staying out of the, the war in Korea, uh, and then went into officer training school and then on into jets and became a, a fighter pilot in Vietnam.

Mike Sarraille:
Sure enough. How, how many tours in Vietnam?

Michael Gaffney:
Um, he did two, two in the F four. Yep.

Mike Sarraille:
Uh, one tour in Vietnam was enough for, for anyone. So that’s that God bless men. Yep. Yeah. I mean, that was a different

Michael Gaffney:
Breed. They were, yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
I, I always look fondly on the, uh, the older generations. I mean, world war, uh, two Korea, Vietnam, and they paved the way for, for us very much, but so I I’m, I’m, I’m assuming popcorn was not intended to buck ya. It was a softer ride.

Michael Gaffney:
He, he was, but if anybody knows anything about Shetland ponies, even though they’re, they’re small, uh, they are mighty and they, and you know, the small man syndrome, they, they absolute epitomized that. I mean, they, he was probably two and a half foot tall and, uh, he didn’t really know anything other than to buck or bite.

Mike Sarraille:
No kidding.

Michael Gaffney:
And, uh, you know, he died at the age of almost 36 years old. He was my age. We, we celebrated the same birthday basically and giving you a lot of boring details, but, uh, I come back from college and he was laughing up dog food in the back porch cuz he had no teeth left. But uh, but yeah, he was so mean he wouldn’t die.

Mike Sarraille:
<laugh> so popcorn was around for most of your young adult

Michael Gaffney:
Life? Yeah, he was, he was basically alive until I quit riding in the pros at, at 35 years old. You’re kidding me. No, no, he’s again, I think, uh, people live longer if they’re mean and, and just have a, something to prove, I guess. And uh, but he was really my true, he was my bucking machine as a, as a small kid.

Mike Sarraille:
For sure. That’s that’s amazing. Was, was that pretty hard when yeah, the time came?

Michael Gaffney:
Yeah, it, it was, but again, you know, at 35 you see a horse that lives 25, 30 years old. That’s a, that’s a long life. Um, so he, he lived a really good life and sure enough did,

Mike Sarraille:
What was the first, first, when was the first time you, or let me put it this way. Do you remember the first time you saw a rodeo?

Michael Gaffney:
You know, I, my, my recollection of seeing a, a rodeo was, was the first one I was entered in and I was five years old. Um, my brother was, was 10 years older than I was and in high school rodeo and that type of thing. And they had an exhibition writing and, and I left Sunday school and I put on my Sears green chaps and my matching green vest outta the Sears catalog with my cowboy hat. And, uh, I think we were just, we just moved off the base and at a Harlem in New Mexico, Harlem in the air force base in New Mexico. And, uh, I still remember the day I remember it was kind of cloudy and, and, uh, I was, I was pumped. I, I still remember, I get little chills down my, my neck when I think about it. And I didn’t last about a jump, but I really was, that was, I was hooked from there on,

Mike Sarraille:
So what is a five year old ride?

Michael Gaffney:
Well, back then, at that time they were just roping steers. So they probably weighed 5, 600, 600 pounds. They were like steer wrestling, steers mm-hmm <affirmative>. And, uh, and to, to me it was a, it was a giant, but, uh, of course, you know, just, it was more like a large dog more than it was anything with horns. And, uh, and, uh, from then on, it was, it was something that I had to do and, and, and aspired to be a rodeo cowboy from that day forward, I was watching everything I could from Larry Mayhan to fill line. Yeah. To guys like that. I will say the exposure to, to that world of Cowboys was pretty limited in New Mexico. And of course my mother and dad not having the roots that a lot of my friends did, I didn’t have the exposure, but, but wherever it was, I was to be sure, you know, sponging it up.

Mike Sarraille:
Was that generation that you just mentioned, that that had to be one tough group of Cowboys. I mean, I can assume whiskey was running through their veins most

Michael Gaffney:
Of the time. Yeah. Well, there’s, there’s one down here. He won the world in 1973. Bobby Steiner is a, is a cowboy from here. You know, his, his son, Sid was a, a steer wrestling world champion in the early two thousands. Bobby won the world, like I said, in the PCA in the 73. And, and you’re talking about guys that were, that were tough. They were tough Cowboys. And that’s what I aspired to be. I mean, I had an older brother that was 10 years older and, and roped and that type of thing. But my dad was a, was a, was a tough guy. And, and I, and I always wanted to be like that. And I thought the epitome of a tough guy was a cowboy. And we had a feed store in, uh, in and around that area. Uh, there was a horse, uh, horse race, uh, cowboy, uh, trainer. His name was Walter Merrick. He was famous. And, uh, my son’s named after him. And I just remember carrying out big sacks of feed out to his truck when I was six, seven years old. And they were big, you know, I just had to prove that I could carry a hundred pound sack of feed and proved to that old man that I was tough. And, and, uh, he, he became my inspiration too, because he was

Mike Sarraille:
Mentor.

Michael Gaffney:
He was, he, he, he, he never really was. We just, we delivered feed to this man up up the RDO downs. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> the all American futurity. And he was just a famous horse race trainer. And, uh, every time I saw saw that, man, I thought that’s what, that’s what I want to be. I wanna be a guy like that, tough cowboy with my boots and my dirty jeans and my old pickup. And even though he was a pretty well off, man,

Mike Sarraille:
That’s, uh, that’s great. We all need mens. We all need coaches. We need inspiration. Yep. Now, additionally, I mean, from reading your story, you seem like a man that knows what he want wants. Uh, you met your wife at 12.

Michael Gaffney:
I saw her, I saw her. I, we we’d finished, I’d stayed with a friend of mine up in the, up off the I 40 between the outside of Gallup, New Mexico. And, uh, and it was at the, the rodeo dance. Everybody’s been to the rodeo dance, you know, back in four H rodeos and those types of days. And, and I saw her, I was probably 12 or 13 and I still remember what she was wearing. I just, I thought my God, you know, she just lit up the room and, and she didn’t think twice about me. I was just, you know, a pee on,

Mike Sarraille:
Well, did you even have the balls to go introduce yourself

Michael Gaffney:
In that one? Oh, I, I met her just because through this friend of mine who I was staying with, who was quite a bit older, his mother and dad and her folks went to college together. And, and so I got a little bit of an in, but, you know, jump ahead about, I don’t know, five, six years we connected right during college and, and never looked back. We got married after six months and, uh, after my freshman year in college and we’ve been together now almost 34, 34 years

Mike Sarraille:
That’s but today is actually the 54th anniversary for my parents.

Michael Gaffney:
54

Mike Sarraille:
That’s that’s that’s loyalty to the course. Yeah. Where, where did you guys go to college?

Michael Gaffney:
So she started down in Alpine mm-hmm <affirmative> initially she got a heck of a scholarship down there. And then, uh, I went to west Texas college they’re in Western, Texas, uh, in Snyder

Mike Sarraille:
On, on scholarship,

Michael Gaffney:
A rodeo scholarship. Okay. So a lot of people didn’t realize, but, um, there’s rodeo colleges all over the nation. Yeah. Mostly in the, you know, in the mid Midwest on out westbound. But, uh, and there’s a college national finals that I went to three years, uh, 88 and nine and 90, and, and the Western region, which you can imagine the Cowboys in Texas, that’s where you want to go, cuz that’s where you Excel. You want to be against the best. And, and, uh, that’s, that’s where the heart of the, the rodeo cowboy was. And, and I was behind and when I left high school and went over to Snyder, um, I was behind those guys, but you’re only as good as who you’re around. Right. And, and then make you better and either step up or get left behind

Mike Sarraille:
They it’s it’s you either play it safe and be a big fish in a small pond. Yeah, yeah. Or you step against the best. And I mean, yeah. Who was iron sharpens? Iron? I mean, was it Proverbs 15, 13 iron sharpens. Iron is one man. Sharpens another. I mean, it’s, that’s the only way you improve. I agree. And funny enough, you know, uh, a good friend, uh, Tyson, uh man’s you know, he used to go to Chuck LED’s, uh, fighting center and he’s like, it was the toughest group of guys. Yeah. And I, he, he talks about how he was not nearly the most talented, but merely by fighting those guys day and, and day out and getting his ass yet, he, he was like, I’d stand against anyone. Yep. Yeah. Um, so you even did rodeo, I mean, you guys had a high school team, is that correct?

Michael Gaffney:
We did. We, uh, in, in New Mexico, you know, when you high school rodeo, you just kind of come up in the ranks. So I played baseball. I, you know, I played football and it’s no different from that, babe, Ruth and baseball, and you kind of go up the each little tier. And, uh, so I have four H rodeo then junior rodeoed and then high school rodeoed and went to the national high school finals a few times. And, uh, we had some really great Cowboys, Indian Cowboys alike out in New Mexico and, and, uh, a lot of the top Cowboys that you’ve heard tough em, in Cody Lambert, um, these types of guys were from New Mexico. They high school rodeoed to New Mexico. They were older than I was couple of my dearest, you know, friends. They obviously help form the PBR back in 92, but you know, a lot of great Cowboys out there. And, uh, and that’s, and that’s what you did. You just kind of followed the group before you, your, your elders, so to speak and, and your mentors and, uh, and you wanted to be like them and ride like them. And so that’s what I always aspire to be.

Mike Sarraille:
You definitely followed the path of the previous generation. Sure. However, you did something very unique and you were one of 19 writers that broke off from the rodeo circuit yes. And started the PBR. But before we get to that, so you graduate college yep. In go to rec, I mean, did you know, Hey, I’m she gonna start competing?

Michael Gaffney:
I did level, you know, WTC is only a junior college and, and Robin was, you know, she, she moved up to Snyder and, and here’s a very type a individual and, and a physician. She became a physician jumping ahead, but, you know, she couldn’t stay in Snyder to go to school. So we moved to Lubbock and she went to Texas tech became red Rader. Yeah. And it was an I an ideal situation for me because I turned professional and was able to fly in and out of Lubbock being so central, you know, to Dallas Fort worth or to Denver and, and get just about anywhere I could, I could, you know, want to go. So it was a, it was an ideal situation for her to go to medical school and for me to start my pro career in the bull riding world. And, uh, and so it was, it was a really great, and of course, you know, if you know, west Texas people, Texas people in general, I mean the salt of the earth. I mean, I, when I left in, in 96, I was truly, I was truly bummed out when I moved there. I moved outta the mountains of New Mexico. I wasn’t real happy because it was pretty, pretty windy and dirty. And, but it, it grew on me. It really did. When I left there 10 years later, I was sad cuz you know, they were who I, I belong there and still have really close friends there and love it to this day. And uh, it’s uh, it’s still, I considered my

Mike Sarraille:
Home. Well, we got something in common. We’re both married to red Raiders. So all right, there you go. I’m an Aggie and a Longhorn, very divided house. Very good. Very good. But I’ve gotta pull for a and M cuz you know, Jimbo Fisher actually is pulling out some good seasons. We’ll see if UT turns it around, turns around. Yep. Um, so these 19 writers that broke off,

Michael Gaffney:
Right.

Mike Sarraille:
I’ve gotta assume that you guys were, cause I know JJ told me the, uh, the story basically, I don’t wanna say you were taking advantage of, but weren’t being compensated for the level you guys were riding at and you had an idea said, Hey, let’s, let’s make the professional bull riding, uh, circuit. Right. And, and, and compensate these riders to do this on a professional level for,

Michael Gaffney:
And, and that’s it Michael that’s, that’s exactly what there was other antagonists. I think that, that put us on that hotel room that day in Scottsdale, we went to a bull riding that day and it was one of those non sanctioned, just strictly bull ridings. You know, that we went to every year, you know, they’d be 500, a thousand dollars entry fees and they were, they were throughout, you’ve heard of the, the super, the super bowl down in Del Rio. We, we went to that every, every may. So these are, these were types of bull ridings that we went out and went to throughout the year, whether it be, you know, lane frost and tough and Cody timer, Jim sharp, I mean the best of the best in the world were, were always at these bull ridings and, and, and myself included cause I just turned professional.

Michael Gaffney:
And uh, and we were also P C a rodeoing, which Austin used to be sanctioned by the PRC. I believe it is to this day. But uh, you know, to cut to the chase, it was just, there was a lot of things happening in the world of bull riding television started coming into it. And uh, when you take a bunch of, you know, kind of ego-centric type Cowboys or, or, or warriors such as yourself, you can’t go and you can’t go to pushing these guys around because they’re gonna, they’re gonna, they’re gonna set back on their heels and tell you to piss off. Right. They’re just going to yeah. And, and that’s what happened. That’s one of those Integon USS happened to put us in that room that day. And, and we said, Hey, we’re gonna throw in a thousand bucks a piece and we’re gonna, and then we had a name and, and I will tell you, Robin was just about to go into medical school and, and I’d won some money that day.

Michael Gaffney:
And, uh, I called her later that night and told her that I, I wrote a check for a thousand dollars. Oh boy. And it was not a good, it was not a good night at the Gaffney household cuz she was, you know, she knew who I was traveling with and who I was around and, and they, she knew they were great guys, wild Cowboys, but she said, well, what the hell’s in a name, you got a name, but you’re still not gonna make any more money. I said, well, maybe someday. And that it truly was a pipe dream. Michael, when we all got together that day, it was just a hope that maybe we could stick together and, and, and put something together. And, and jumping ahead a couple of two, three years, the real, the real ACE in the hole here is the man.

Michael Gaffney:
We picked up to be our leader. And when we speak about leaders and how, what, how important they are, this man truly changed the, the platform, uh, for, for, for professional bull riding. And that’s Randy Bernard. He came outta California in 95. And uh, the best part of this story is we said, uh, look, you know, when he decided to come with us, the P C a was kind of looking out for him too. And we, we kind of went underneath him and said, Hey, you gotta come work for the, for the real Cowboys. You know? And, uh, we, we told him, he said, now that you have the job, you gotta do one thing. And he said, what was that? And he said, well, you gotta make 50,000. And he said, only 50. He said, well, if you don’t make 50,000, you’re not gonna get paid cuz we didn’t have any money. And um, furthermore, when we moved him to Colorado Springs, he came in a little half, half ton pickup in a bag and we put him in a, in a mop closet in a, in a bank building in downtown Colorado Springs. And that’s the honest, it’s God truth. You couldn’t fit that drum set in that mop closet. And, and uh, five years later we gave a million dollars to our first world champion.

Mike Sarraille:
So I can assume prior to the PBR, you guys were what breaking, even if you were lucky on all. Oh yeah.

Michael Gaffney:
Oh yeah. You know, I, and I gotta tell you this, Michael, you know, in 1991, I went to my first national finals rodeo in Las Vegas. And that’s what you did. You went to a hundred rodeos a year to get to that 10 days.

Mike Sarraille:
You competed in a hundred rodeos a

Michael Gaffney:
Year. Well, that was, you know, Donny gay back in the days in the seventies and 80, early eighties, he was going to a hundred twenty five, a hundred fifty. He had an airplane. We had an airplane in 91. And so you were doing your best to make as many rodeos as you could because you qualified on money and they took the top 15 qualifiers on money. So you basically, when I went to the NFR in December of 91, I was, I was in the hole by probably, I don’t know a handful. It wasn’t for the bull runs. We’re speaking of I’d have been the whole big time, but that’s where you make your gravy throughout the, the whole season was to make the NFR. And then if you didn’t make it, you were crap outta luck. And I rode nine outta 10. Bulls won the average my first year there. And in two months after uncle Sam got ahold of me, I was dead. Crap broke again. So that was, you know, another one of those antagonists that put us in that room.

Mike Sarraille:
So I’ve gotta assume the 19 of you pissed off the powers that be within the rodeo world. I mean, you guys had to be going more or less. You were going against the current when you started

Michael Gaffney:
This. We, we were, but I will tell you this. They thought they thought, and that being the big contractors who controlled everything and the powers that be that ran the office and the PRC and Colorado Springs, they thought there’s no way. You’ve got 12, 15, 18, 20 guys with these big heads. These big egos will ever stick together. And that was, that was, I think, a dare to us to say, you know what, we’re whatever we do. We, we got to stick together and make this happen.

Mike Sarraille:
So let me ask this the 19 until you, you, you brought on and again, his name was Randy,

Michael Gaffney:
Randy Bernard. Randy’s uh, I gotta tell you this. So now he went, he is, he’s managing Garth Brooks. So here’s a man that, uh, is, I mean, the guy is he’s, he’s a, he’s a phenom. He’s, he’s really not from this planet. He truly is not only a great human being, but he’s, he’s just got a, he’s got a special gift he really does.

Mike Sarraille:
But for those three years, you 19 would meet regularly, get on the phone. Oh yeah. You ran the, the business until you said, Hey, Randy, we need you to come in and run. Yep. Run

Michael Gaffney:
The business basically. Yep. Yep.

Mike Sarraille:
So that, I mean, that is, that’s an American story right there, man. It’s a great in 19 yeah. Legitimate American Cowboys. Yep. That is a beautiful story, man. It is. I love that. Yeah.

Michael Gaffney:
It’s a great story, Michael.

Mike Sarraille:
Thanks. So you went on to become a big name in, in rodeo riding and you won the 1997 championship. Was that the culmination for you?

Michael Gaffney:
It, it, it was. And, and, and, you know, my dad was there and, and he was always, and I say this because I, I have a son of my own. He, he was always fearful of bull riding, even though he was this tough fighter jock and everything. He was a real big hearted guy. And, uh, I miss my first high school rodeo cuz he drove me over to it and I missed it. I don’t think I talked to him for a month cause I missed my first big bull riding in high school. And I didn’t know how fearful he was until I had my own son 13 years ago, um, to know true vulnerability when you have your child. So I, uh, it was a, it was a big thing for me, for him to be there and watch me win that world championship in 97.

Michael Gaffney:
Um, because he loved, he loved being around the guys, the Cowboys, because they were a lot like, like you guys, his, his veteran buddies. Yeah. Yes. They, they, they were just, they’re their moral fabric. They were just, they were, I met a lot of them, a lot of ’em that he flew with a lot of ’em that came, you know, did come back and they were, you know, shot up and everything and, and they were just good guys. And he really, he was able to communicate and, and get along with a lot of those bull riders because of, of who they were as, as people. And uh, so I be a bond.

Mike Sarraille:
I, I get, so there’s a bond amongst soldiers only further solidified by combat, but I mean, regardless of it being an individual sport and amongst you 19, I know you 19, can you continued to compete against one another? Yep. I’m sure you guys watch each other and you watch somebody beat that bowl and you’re wildly happy for ’em or you watch somebody get hurt and you know what they’re going for.

Michael Gaffney:
Yeah. It’s, there’s that bond. I, and I, like I said, I could never put myself in your shoes and what you guys have been through, but you know, I I’d like to think that there is there’s that similar type bond that we have as individuals in our own worlds that are similar because you know, those guys are they’re, they’re like brothers and we live together. Like I said, when we are going to rodeos every day, you know, we go to, you know, that one 4th of July of 19, we went to 11 rodeos in eight days. I mean, you’re, you’re kind, almost forget where your wives and girlfriends look like you’re you’re with your par, you know, and, but it was a, it was a great lifestyle. And when you were rodeoing with those guys that had your back yeah. I mean, there’s, you know, that’s a brotherhood, it’s a brotherhood. It’s just, there’s nothing better.

Mike Sarraille:
So I, I I’ve gotta ask. Do you know, you said you didn’t talk to your dad for a month. Do you still, to this day suspect that he slow rolled getting to the, uh, the rodeo competition? Oh,

Michael Gaffney:
I, yeah. Oh

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. He did. Did he ever come out and admit

Michael Gaffney:
It? No, he never did. He never did. I, and I, I think I called him on it one time sometime later, probably when I was in the, you know, a little bit later, but, uh, yeah. He’s, you know, after that, he, he was really, I think he, he, once I got over that hump, he knew that I was, I was serious because I was a really big leap leap. When you go from junior riding, bulls, junior, junior bulls to big bulls, you know, it’s, it’s serious, you know, you’re talking about it’s, you know, I guess it’d be like a little, a little league player stepping out and looking at a hundred, you know, two mile fast ball. I mean, it’s, it’s a big change. And, uh, and something that’s, it’s daunting for a young kid.

Mike Sarraille:
It’s the, the most amazing thing. And I understand it cuz it tore my dad up to watch me go to combat. I mean, I came home wounded after my second deployment of 10 deployments and he was a hard man. Yeah. And uh, now I understand, like I had no problem just like your dad had no problem probably going to combat, but when does your son, son, or your daughter, it’s an entirely different thing. And I’m so glad that my son has no desire to go into the military. He’s 14.

Michael Gaffney:
Cause I was gonna ask you now see, so we’re right on the same page. You, your son’s 14. Mine’s gonna be 14 here in August. Okay. And uh, I caught him one time on the family dog, the German shepherd. And I said, you get off that dog. And uh, and, and, but other than that, you know, he is never aspired and thank goodness he’s um, he’s never really he’s maybe he’s just more intelligent than I ever was. He’s he’s never really wanted to be a, um, a bull rider, which is great. Cuz I, I don’t know how I, I don’t know how I’d handle it. Maybe like you and your son, you know, going to something like that, it’d be, it’d be difficult.

Mike Sarraille:
So Michael, you, you do have another, I mean you won the, the world championship. You do have another record in the books which actually held for a long time until one of your yes. Now one of your writers, yes. Broke it. Tell us about the, the, the longest, uh, highest score in rod.

Michael Gaffney:
Well, it, you know, that bull was, is kind of a nemesis of mine and he, he was at that time a two time bucking bull the year, uh, little yellow jacket. And, uh, the weekend before that I’d, I’d gotten him, uh, ridden there in NA Idaho. My last year, I was 35 years old and, and I’d really, you know, Michael, I had born out my welcome. It was time for me to, I was close and I was feeling it in lots of surgeries, you know, broken hands, you know, both shoulders, totally redone knees, broken jaws, bro, you know, lots of stuff busted. And uh, but I, but I still had something to prove I’d been home so much with, with the injuries that I still had a few things to do. And uh, and when I, when I stepped out there and, and got to Boulder road there at, uh, NA Idaho, like I said, in 2004, it gave it, it propelled me to finish out the year.

Michael Gaffney:
And I went in, like I said, almost 36 years old. I rode, uh, uh, six outta eight bulls. Uh, I ended up second or third of the world finals that year. And it was a great culmination of my career. I walked out, I won the last go round in my career. I rode that bull again. I had him the short go at the world finals and uh, got the buckle of that round. That final go round, the short go, we called it. So it was a really great explanation point to put on my career and I walked away and, and uh, yeah, it’s, uh, it was, it was a great lifestyle.

Mike Sarraille:
How hard was it to let go?

Michael Gaffney:
Um, um, I think right then, um, it was easier because I was, I was pretty to, you know, I had, I was dealing with the torn growing. I was dealing with a pretty busted up elbow, but about a month later and I was started feeling normal. I thought it’s, it is time to go back and crawl on again, cuz I didn’t feel right. You know, you were always dealing with something. Right. And I thought I’m gonna have to go shut my hand in the car door or something. You know, I just, just to feel normal and uh, I, I still miss. I mean,

Mike Sarraille:
So you, but you almost pulled a Tom Brady and came outta retirement. No, no, no, no, no,

Michael Gaffney:
No, no. I, I, uh, we pulled the thing a few years ago. One of the old guys, we did some stuff to, for uh, wounded veterans, a bunch of us old guys got on as a kind of a, just a kick and yeah, I didn’t go very good. So I, I was done at 35. I, I, it was, it was time.

Mike Sarraille:
What, what is the average span of a bull rider?

Michael Gaffney:
You know, I like to think that, you know, everybody’s different just because of what they’re dealing with. And you know, I gotta say this, you know, one of our only three time world champions with my was one of my traveling partners and he was a first Brazilian who came over here and he was our first, uh, world champion in the PBR and that’s a Adrian rice. And uh, when I, when I finished in 2004, I told him going up to the elevator that I was done, you know, he was clearly upset. He said, you can’t leave me brother. And I said, I said, I’m done. I said, I’m busted up and he’d won two already. And he was the same age as me. He won another, his third world title two years later, he was, he was uh, 36 and a half year, almost 37, I think. And he won a third world title. So to answer your question, I think it’s, it’s different for every guy. Yeah. Um, but if you’re, if you’re 30 young thirties and you’re riding these types of animals, you’ve, you’ve made it a long ways.

Mike Sarraille:
You got a shelf life. Yeah. You’re coming up

Michael Gaffney:
On it. No, most definitely.

Mike Sarraille:
So, you know, Michael, we’re gonna go to a mid roll break, but before we do, we, we, we call it the hard question. So we’re gonna hit you with, uh, with two questions. First one is hardest decision you ever had to make in your life.

Michael Gaffney:
Um, probably coming back to ride in 1994, um, you know, this was, this was just after we formed the PBR. You know, I’d, I’d gotten hurt that year. I missed the NFR in 90 in just that year. And uh, by $600, my traveling partner who was raised right here in dripping Springs, a lot of guys know the name, Brent Thurman. We lost him at the world, the world finals in the 10th round. And I was out working cattle and in Amarillo and Robin called me and said that you need to go to Vegas. Brent Brent got hurt. So, but to answer your question to, to decide, to go back and ride, cuz it, it was, I, I just, I was done. I, you know, I’d missed the finals. I was, I had been hurt a lot leading up to that and, and the PBR is just barely in its infancy.

Michael Gaffney:
And I don’t, I didn’t really didn’t know if I wanted it anymore. And so that was a really di you know, difficult decision for me to, to say, Hey, I can still do this and I need to do it for me. Um, cuz you know, Brent would want me to, because that’s what we did and we loved it. And uh, even though to, you know, why he was taken, there was a lot of questions I had to answer, but that was a, that was one of my most, it was my most difficult decision I think in my life to

Mike Sarraille:
Come back. So his death was yeah. The impetus to put you back in one last time. Yeah. To give the shot. Yeah.

Michael Gaffney:
I mean to move on and it, and it was, it was tough for about six months and, and, and once I got over that hump and I knew he was with me in spirit cuz here that’s awesome. He was a spiritual guy and, and a really God fearing man and, and just the, the best individual you can ever imagine. Like I said, he was raised right here in dripping Springs and I was really blessed to, to rodeo with him

Mike Sarraille:
Har the biggest regret of your life.

Michael Gaffney:
Uh, you know, pretty, I guess pretty cheesy to say that I, I don’t and because, you know, because of what I chose to do, I think it, it proves that I didn’t have any regrets. I think if I wouldn’t have chose to go back and ride, I would’ve had that regret yeah. To not get back on and, and finish out a career that I, that I dreamed of ever since I was a, a three year, four year old kid. So, um, I, I really don’t if, if there was, would be one, I didn’t have my son until I was almost 40 years old. I’d go back and have three more.

Mike Sarraille:
I, I, I totally understand. Um, I’ve got two. Yep. Good. And I’m remarried and yep. If she wants more

Michael Gaffney:
<laugh> I can

Mike Sarraille:
See why I, I just don’t wanna be the guy with a cane at the high school, uh, trying to chase him around with the high school graduation where people are saving that your grandfather that’s

Michael Gaffney:
Be your grand, your

Mike Sarraille:
Grand. Yeah. Um, okay. Well, Michael, we’re gonna take a break. We’ll be right back and welcome back to the men’s journal everyday warrior podcast. Uh, Michael Gaffney’s joined us, uh, PBR world champion, and now the head coach of the Austin gamblers. So PBR has taken a very interesting turn. We’ll call it the evolution of the sport evolution. Absolutely. And is it safe to say they’re going away from individual sports or, or, or they’re still individual rides, but now they’re, they’re, they’re introducing the team aspect.

Michael Gaffney:
Absolutely. That’s you, you nailed it, Michael. And, and we just crowned our 2000, uh, 22 world champion in may in Fort worth. So the, the platform has changed. So you’re still gonna have your, your individual world champion, every user, uh, it’s just condensed season for that. And then the second part of the year will be for the team series that we’re, that we we’re about to start where we’re doing the preseason, obviously then we’ll, we’ll start that first event in Cheyenne in, in July, end of July. So you kind of having our cake and eat it too, as it were.

Mike Sarraille:
I I’m excited to actually attend one of these things and see it in action, man. Yeah. Um,

Michael Gaffney:
You’ll enjoy it. Just being, you know, what you are you’ll you’ll love it.

Mike Sarraille:
I I’m almost, I I’ll. So do you know much about seal training

Michael Gaffney:
Heather? I can’t. I mean, obviously I’ve watched many, many film and my son is, is kind of a crazy maniac. He’s watching it cuz he’s, you know, about the train. So,

Mike Sarraille:
So there’s this thing called hell week and it’s five days without sleep and I mean, you’re going through it and again, like, you know, it’s tough. Yeah. And you don’t wanna quit and you make it through it. Right. But when I went back and watched it yeah. As an instructor and then I came back years later and watched it again, I thought we were gonna kill these kids. Yeah. And, and I have no doubt then I, when I watch your, your, your, your athletes. And I love that word athletes because, you know, people don’t usually use that with, uh, rodeo riders, but it’s the same thing with NASCAR. It is. I mean, they’re athletes, they

Michael Gaffney:
Are, they

Mike Sarraille:
Really are. And I want to talk about their regiment as well, but okay. I think I’m gonna be nervous watching Jose get on the back of a 1800 pound bowl. I I’m gonna, I’m gonna fear for his safety.

Michael Gaffney:
Yeah. And, and, and JJ, you know, has been introduced to, to our world in the last handful of months and he’s, you know, coming from a, a baseball background and that type of thing and, well,

Mike Sarraille:
Okay. Let’s stop there. Baseball players are not athletes. I’m trying to remember. I’m trying to remember the one baseball player that said and athlete, well, I’m not an athlete. I’m a baseball player. Yeah.

Michael Gaffney:
A baseball player. Yeah. Well, I was talking to one of the guys that works for the PBR and helps run these teams. And, you know, he was, he was, he was working with the Marlins and stuff down there. I don’t know exactly what and saying that these guys are playing 170 games a year and stuff like that. I mean, it’s just nuts. I mean, I just, and, and I see these guys and, and work workout regimens and what they do and, and, and our guys are, are no different. I mean, they just having this, uh, this, uh, this opponent that, that threw up against these days. I mean, they’re, they really are. They, they’ve gotta be in the best physical shape to, to handle it. Number one, but then deal with the injuries afterwards.

Mike Sarraille:
GI give me a contrast of how you trained to how these guys train now. Cause I know they’re on, they’re on workout regimens. They’re on diet regimens. Absolutely. I, I always envisioned your generation, just drinking whiskey, getting on a bowl half drunk and I’m joking.

Michael Gaffney:
No, no, it’s, it’s pretty close. I mean, now I would say that was more, you know, as it, speaking of evolution, you know, we, we saw a taste of that and I will say most of my stuff was, was just a recovery and, and, and PT and physical therapy and that type of thing to get back on. It wasn’t, it wasn’t the weekly regimen because it wasn’t sport specific. I mean, everybody would just go on and do squats and the curls and the, you know, everything trying to now, I grew up on a unicycle, grew up on walking a pipe fence. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, uh, climbing a, you know, a 40 foot hay. Uh, we tied to hay barn climbing rope, um, these types of things to make yourself strong in your core and everything else. But you know, the, again, the evolution that we’ve seen since in my day, uh, of 2000 early, 2000, mid two thousands to now is, is night and day and, and rightfully so because of what’s available to them. Um, and that’s, what’s so interesting and so exciting for me is to, to watch these guys really take this serious and really raise the bar in every facet of our sport. And I can legitimately say this, Michael, that we, we, we are, and they are true athletes because they, they have to be of what, what they’re dealing with. Uh,

Mike Sarraille:
I I’m, I’m sure they appreciate that, but when I speak to companies, I start all my speeches with this quote, if I’ve seen further it’s because I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants and that is usually the previous generation laying the path. Cause I mean, you look at, take the NFL for, for example, I mean, those playing in the NFL in the fifties, sixties and seventies, those were a hard one. Yeah. But some, I mean, in a lot of those guys had to go out and get jobs during the off season. Absolutely. I mean, today’s athletes. I mean, they, what they eat, what time they get up, how many workouts, it’s all regimented, it’s been, they’re stronger, they’re better, they’re faster, but that’s the whole point of passing into the next generation to take it to the next level. It is. I’m almost to, to see if the longevity of PBR writers increases.

Michael Gaffney:
That’s, that’s what I’m really interested in to see is, and I, and I think without a doubt, just be of, of pure biology and stuff like that, that plays a part in that, you know, the healthy you are and, and the more limb you are. And we, we talked about regrets, you know, a minute ago. And I think if I, if I think about it as a whole, from an athlete, a bull rider, if I could go back, I regret not doing hot yoga and, and I’m serious and stuff like this. And, and when I, when I was training to get on this bull, we got on a few years ago, just as a, as a, as a money, an opportunity to raise money for veterans. You know, I went in and I trained with the likes of guys like Tim Kennedy and, and went to these places. These UFC guys were training because I knew at 40, 40 plus years old, I’d have to be in really good shape just to handle one bull. Um, and I saw what rigorous regiments they had and I, it just blew me away.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. I I’ve trained with Tim Kennedy, not, not impressed. He’s a good friend. I mean, a lot of Jane Fonda, a lot of glute exercises, overrated man, over, over overrated. Yeah. Um, now if he actually listens to this podcast, my wife and I will be moving and I’ll be on the run. Um, so I mean, this, this is interesting cuz you guys actually had a draft.

Michael Gaffney:
Yep. First draft draft ever.

Mike Sarraille:
Was it? The draft was televised

Michael Gaffney:
Televised draft. Yep. And it, how,

Mike Sarraille:
How many people showed up?

Michael Gaffney:
Well, when we had it there at the, uh, Texas live there right across from Arlington stadium there and now, you know, right there in Arlington obviously. And uh, first year was real lot of nerves because it was our inaugural draft. And uh, I think from a team perspective and a, and a, you know, a coach to be, uh, and you know, our statisticians that JJ lined up and, you know, trying to figure out, you know, what guys, and, you know, putting him in tier groups and all these, this different strategy when one guy may disappear and, and shuffle around, we were ready to pick up that next guy. So it, it truly was an experience. And, you know, we’ve all seen the NFL draft, the BA you know, the, the, the

Mike Sarraille:
Best. But, but I mean, it doesn’t mean you guys know what you’re doing. We didn’t know what the hell we were doing. You’re doing level. Like, I just like that guy. Yeah.

Michael Gaffney:
I just like,

Mike Sarraille:
So I know JJs in the crowd. So basically JJ tried to bring Moneyball to the Austin gamblers. They brought data, absolutely statistics

Michael Gaffney:
On base. <laugh>

Mike Sarraille:
Good. Good. So for the listeners, give me the format for the team competitions and, and sort of how it’s gonna run and, and the growth of where you guys want to take this.

Michael Gaffney:
Okay. So, so basically, without getting too deep in the weeds with this, you’ve got, you’ve got eight teams, um, seven then than us. And, and we’re gonna go to these events. We’ve got 10 events in the regular season. And then we’ll culminate in that 11th event in Las Vegas at T-Mobile arena, which is usually held for the world championship, you know, for the PBR. But now that that’s changed. And so we’re gonna go in and what we’re calling games, and we’ll be head to head with another, another team, our five guys against their five guys in the first night. It’ll flip flop. Everybody does this throughout the night. So you got four games and you know what I mean? So everybody’s head to head, that’ll flip flop for the next day and we’ll do it again. And then that third day, and then there’s some bonus, round type competition in there. That’ll break ties and this type of thing, but the, the game hasn’t changed, Michael, you still get on and you nod your head and you hold on and you, and, and it’s still an eight second game. Um, and you gotta, you can’t fall off and yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Be that as it may, it is still an individual ride.

Michael Gaffney:
Absolutely.

Mike Sarraille:
Here’s the interesting thing. It’s the team dynamic. It is. And it’s the same thing. I don’t care if you have wrestling. I wrestled in high school. Okay. You know, if you go 10 on 10 in the different way, weight classes, and I don’t care if the team has 10 better wrestlers, if there is that spree decor, if there is that brotherhood that they understood stand, that they are standing by the guy all the way to the second that gate opens, that’s a different element.

Michael Gaffney:
It is a different it’s way different.

Mike Sarraille:
And so you were an individual writer, your entire career now that you you’re the coach of it. And how many do you have 10 total?

Michael Gaffney:
We’ve we’ve, we’ve got 11 guys right now. Um, so we have five that’ll go actively and be there and we’ll have a couple of alternates because of injuries and that type of thing. Absolutely. But we’ve got, uh, a dugout full of, of, uh, squad guys. That’ll be there as, as kind of, uh, in the dugout if we need to pull them up and, and move around the roster and that type of thing. So, um, the league is allowing I think, 12 up to 12 guys, uh, right now. And, uh, and I believe we’ve got 11.

Mike Sarraille:
How are you dealing? And I know you’ve coached and men are young riders before that that’s, that’s not new to you. How are you dealing with the title coach, man,

Michael Gaffney:
I’m dealing with it the best I can. I’ve never been, you know, I’ve always, I’ve always enjoyed, you know, kind of helping young guys and that type of thing, but I never considered myself a coach, obviously. And this is, again, this is a new, a, a new era. And I, I will tell you this. I think we talked about the, the global cut before, and I’ve been a coach at that. So I’ve dabbled in it a little bit and have an idea and I’ve put on bull riding schools. And, uh, so I have an idea, but I think you hit upon it just a, a few brief seconds ago. And that’s the, this platform of, of responsibility that, that is ch is gonna change this game, right? This team format. You’re not, you’re not responsible only yourself anymore. There’s a team of guys that you’re gonna be looking at that are with you when you’re pulling down on that bull that are gonna raise you up when you’re down and just raise you even higher when you’re up.

Michael Gaffney:
And, and it is a, it is a game of ups and downs. Um, last weekend, one of our squad guys pulled a real bad groin. He’s, he’s back, he’s a Canadian kid. He’s been in the win circle the last few weeks. And, and for him to be there for the next night and be right there, back behind the buck and shoot with a big bag of ice on his groin and stuff. It’s, you know, how does that not help the rest of the crew? Right? So again, it’s, it’s gonna raise the bar, Michael. I, I, I can’t even tell you, you know, tenfold to have, uh, your team there with you, uh, in and out of the arena.

Mike Sarraille:
So I know these guys look up to you because you, you got credibility. What are the things you’re trying to teach? ’em what are the things you are trying to, to instill in them to pull these 11 riders who are used to an individual sport? How are you trying to pull them together as a team?

Michael Gaffney:
I, I think they are professionals. Number one. Yeah. So, so the approach for me is, is not to say that I can’t throw some tweaks and some quirks and, and, and bring to them to a place where they’re aware of the mistakes they’re making, making, you know, we all made the mistakes, whether I was 22 or 32, you still make them the same mistakes. Right. But what I’m trying to teach them and, or, or, or help them with is not reinventing the wheel. They’ve done this a thousand times. They’ve been doing it. Most of them since they were little kids and, and, and our sport is so reactionary because you’re dealing with what you’re dealing with. You know, it’s at its longest, it’s eight, maybe 10 seconds. And the other two seconds past the, the buzzer is to get off, hopefully safe safely. So you’re talking about, you know, when you’re on top, it can, it seems like a lifetime.

Michael Gaffney:
I don’t want to, you know, tell anybody it’s not, but at the same time, you know, to remind these guys that they have the foundation, they know what the foundation is. You go in there and, and you just, you let things happen. You can’t think, uh, consciously because if, if you do, you’re too late, so it’s all reactionary. And, and, and they know how to do it last weekend, our first preseason game, I will tell you this. I was so jacked up and excited, and they were so jacked up and excited. And, and some of ’em obviously coming from the dugout and being there, um, and wanting to make the squad of five that they were, they were almost too high. Yes. Right? Yeah. And, and, and, and trying too hard. And it was, it was clear. So I’m hoping that we can find, you know, that center and, and my job is to, to remind them hopefully, of, of, of where and help them find that

Mike Sarraille:
I’m trying to think of the, the author. And I think it’s Stephen Presfield, who wrote the gates of fire. It’s it’s about the Spartans. And he talked in particular about how, when the Spartans would line up against their adversaries on the battlefield, you know, line against line, the adversaries would do these war cries and, and try to act all big. And the Spartans would maintain their composure because they know if they emulated what their, they would adrenaline, they would, they would dump their adrenaline. And there’s a, a calm, a calm. But I mean, I think that’s a good sign. That means your team is excited to, to, to bring that championship back to Austin, Texas, and I’m gonna hold you accountable for that coach.

Michael Gaffney:
Right. Right. Yeah. And I mean, that’s my job, right? I mean, I’m, I’m gonna get ready to get whooped in case, and not in case if, if we don’t do it. And, and my plan is to do that. We’ve, we’ve got the squad to do it. We’ve got some great talent. You know, we got Jose VTO who is, who’s an amazing athlete himself. He was gonna go play, play pro soccer down in Brazil, which we know if you, if you, if you’re able to go in and play pro in Brazil, you’re, you’re not a slouch. No. So at 17 years old, um, he decides to become a bull rider. And then a few shorts, years later, wait,

Mike Sarraille:
Wait, wait, he didn’t start until 17.

Michael Gaffney:
He was 17.

Mike Sarraille:
Had he ridden bulls before? Or he just

Michael Gaffney:
Got his dad from what I hear had a background in, in rodeo and was a bull rider. But no, he was, he was riding, uh, and playing soccer. He was playing soccer until he was 17 decided he, he thought he would get on a bull. And, uh, I should I say, the rest is history. He’s 25. Now

Mike Sarraille:
It was it Roger Feder that, uh, the tennis player, tennis player, I don’t think he got serious about tennis. I mean, his parents were deliberate about making sure that he played as many sports from gymnastics to soccer, to, to everything he could on his teens until he decided tennis was

Michael Gaffney:
His thing. And look at him now, look at this. Another phenom.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. Well, I mean, we’re gonna have Jose on the, uh, the podcast. I’m also, well, I’m excited cuz he, I wanna say he’s a small

Michael Gaffney:
Man. How he’s a little man. He’s five he’s five, five, a hundred thirty five pounds Jose you’re asking, right? Yes. Yeah. I mean he’s he truly is a, a gymnast and he’s and he’s and he, you know, we talk about the law of physics and, and in our sport, Michael, or, or if you’re talking about a rock climber, you’re not gonna find a 225 pound rock climber. You’re gonna find a guy like Jose because of the law of physics and you know, the lower center of gravity and all the different things that play a part in professional bull rider. And he is, he really is that perfect stature for a bull rider?

Mike Sarraille:
Well, Jose, we, we call him a little man. I’m I’m gonna tell you I’m I’m not a small guy. I’m about six feet and about 200 pounds. Yep. Um, the, the times I’ve gotten my ass kicked have been by a much smaller man, and I know the words that come outta their mouths. Cause I’ve heard this multiple times. Are you good? Uh, yeah. And I’m like, yeah, I’m good. Sorry. I apologize. Yeah,

Michael Gaffney:
<laugh>

Mike Sarraille:
Good. There’s there’s another, uh, one of your riders that we’re gonna have on, in hot damn. If this is not the American story, man, this, this makes me proud. Ezekiel

Michael Gaffney:
Is who

Mike Sarraille:
Now? Uh, I’m sorry. Uh, is Ezekiel Mitchell? Yes.

Michael Gaffney:
Yes. Ezekiel. Yeah. Yeah. Good boy. And, and I was really excited to, to, to get his eco on the squad. You know, he grew up just he’s outta here of Austin and uh, yeah, he’s a heck of an athlete.

Mike Sarraille:
How did he learn to bull ride?

Michael Gaffney:
You know, I think I, I think his dad, you know, had some background from what I understand thus far, you know, I’m, he’s, he’s one of those kids that I’m getting to know. And, uh, and, and he’s great to be around he’s he’s he’s jocular. He keeps everybody really, uh, hopping and excited about everything. Whether we’re going to the bank to sign autographs or we’re going to, uh, to the arenas ride bulls or we’re just going to eat dinner. So, uh, um, from what I understand, you know, he’s got a little bit of background. He loves riding horses. He lives in North Carolina. Now he’s got a girlfriend back there and, uh, spends most of his day there. And he told me the other day he’s that’s, that’s what he wants to do when he’s done riding bulls. He wants to be a horse trainer. And, uh, so I think his background is, is in that, that lifestyle. And, uh, I think he brings that love of the Western world, you know, into his bull riding. And he was, he was sending me photographs this morning on the, on the via text to, to, to bring on another squad guy that, uh, he’s looking at. So he’s, he’s helpful too.

Mike Sarraille:
Hey, north north Cadillac is a, is a great state. I I’ve lived there for some time, so good, good for him. Um, well, Michael, we, I mean, we, we’ve got a journey with you guys. The men’s journal everyday warrior is gonna be following the Austin gamblers. I’m excited to learn more about the sport. I’m excited to learn more about your like high performance in your industry, which is what just fascinates me is looking at high performers in every profession. Right? Cause the attributes are always the same. I’m interested to see how your team comes together as, uh, as brotherhood,

Michael Gaffney:
Brotherhood. I like

Mike Sarraille:
It. And, and, and I know, you know, talking to JJ, I’m gonna come talk to you guys here in, uh, in July. Okay. Maybe we’ll put ’em through a little mini hell week through the night. No sleep small little bit, a little, little bit. Okay. We, we, we can set that up. We can get ’em cold. I I’ll tell you what at the end of that, and this won’t be released by that, that, that time you will see those guys coming together as brothers. We know how to do that. I believe I in, okay. So, you know, Michael, we, we close this out with, with two questions, same questions for every person. And I know you listened to the, the podcast with Terry haw. I did. I did. I’m still waiting for Terry to bring me out to, uh, is it Branson, Missouri? He, he promised me a song.

Michael Gaffney:
It was, he’s a hell of a singer, I guess exactly what I understand. Yeah. I didn’t know. Have any idea.

Mike Sarraille:
Funny

Michael Gaffney:
Enough, watching him when I was a little kid, me, Joe Green, I, they were my heroes when I was five or six years

Mike Sarraille:
Old. The, the, the, the blonde bomber, funny enough, when we had him on Testament to his generation, he knows nothing about technology. And, uh, when we finished the mic was still on and he’s like, get that guy out to Branson. I love that guy. And I’m like, I’m, I’m still listening in. But so first one is how’s Michael Gaffney gonna evaluate whether he lived an impactful, meaningful life. My,

Michael Gaffney:
How do I know I did? Yeah. I, you know, my dad really only taught me one thing. He was a really soft handed guy, soft ne never, never whooped me. Never did grab me by there one time. And he said, you always treat people the way you wanna be treated yourself. And, and I like to think that Michael, that, you know, I’ve gone through my life doing exactly that I I’ve always tried to look, you know, uh, you know, from somebody else’s perspective and look back and, and try to put yourself in their shoes and try to understand maybe what they’re going through, whether, and I know you can’t, but, and I, I, I really I’ve really live my life like that. And, and at times I’m kind of a pushover. I don’t like conflict. Um, but, uh, that’s just, it’s, it’s who I am, it’s who he was. And, uh, he had a lot of, a lot of really great sincere friends and, and that was impactful to me. And so, uh, I like to think that, you know, when I go that I made, uh, I made somebody’s day, maybe just a little bit better, because I was, I was decent to them because I’d want them to be decent to me.

Mike Sarraille:
You said your dad was a big, hard man, right?

Michael Gaffney:
Yeah. Very, very much so. Yeah,

Mike Sarraille:
It is philosophy sounds a lot like Teddy Roosevelt, I think he was Teddy Roosevelt. It might be getting this wrong speaks awfully, but carry a big stick,

Michael Gaffney:
Big stick. And yeah. And he could, he was a big man and had special combat boost and special gloves made for the jet fighter, cuz he was a big guy and um, but he never had to, I think because people probably knew that he was, he could really be bad if he had to be, but he never had to be.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. Um, and that, that’s a great characteristic. This I, you ever have time send me a picture of an old man in service. I’d love to,

Michael Gaffney:
You’ll get a kick out of it. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Last question. What are those? Non-negotiables those, those guiding principles. One to three of them that have steered you in the right path, those things that you’re trying to teach your son. And I know we just hit one of ’em treat people the way you want to be treated.

Michael Gaffney:
And don’t tell me, you know, he is gonna be 14. You and I were just talking about our sons and I don’t, I don’t tell him that very often because he really, really, he lives it and it’s, it’s just him. He was just made that way, which I’m really fortunate. Um, but you know, I, I, I tell him that, you know, every day, um, he comes home from soccer practice. He trains all the time and I tell him, you know, every day you pull up your bootstraps and, and like, and like, you mean it. Um, and I mean, when I say that, I said, you’re deliberate. When you, when you make a call, you you’re deliberate about it. When I tell him, you know, he’s not a, he’s a very soft guy. Like my dad. I said, you know, this is your chance.

Michael Gaffney:
When you cross over that mark on the soccer field, it’s your chance to be, um, you know, the big, bad Wolf and you, and, but you know, he’s, he’s still, he’s still that good individual, but he can play hard and, uh, and give it his all, but, but be deliberate when he does it. Um, um, and lastly, um, yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s tough. Um, you know, I’m, I’m really, I’m really proud of, of a couple things in my life. You know, my accomplishment accomplishment in the arena. Uh, and, and I feel like I’m a, a, a decent dad and, and I feel like, you know, my wife is, is a really big, a really big part of my life. Um, she’s been my best friend since, since we were kids, I, I was 19 and we’ve never been apart. And I look forward to seeing her every day. Um, so I, I throw that in there just because, you know, she is, she’s my rock, she’s my foundation. She was with me through all the years of surgery and, and my whining and complaining and the ice packing, uh, after surgeries. So, uh, yeah, I like to think that I was, I’ve been, uh, a pretty, a pretty decent, uh, spouse.

Mike Sarraille:
I’m gonna read you something. And, and again, I said it was my parents’ 54th anniversary. And my dad wrote something that basically said, you know, you didn’t take any accomplishments for, for the 54 years. He said, your mom is the toughest person I’ve ever met the rock, the foundation. She picked us up when we were down, me included, it’s amazing the power of a woman. Amazing. There’s a, there’s an amazing woman be behind all great men. And we know that, and there’s all, you know, again, there’s a amazing men behind all great women. So

Michael Gaffney:
Great partnership.

Mike Sarraille:
You say something pull, pulls yourself up by your bootstraps. When we were overseas, people always thought like, oh, you’re an American cowboy. And we say, yes, I am man. I’m from San Francisco, California. <laugh> uh, never going back there. I, I, I lie to people. I tell ’em from Frisco, Texas, you know, San Francisco, Frisco, Texas

Michael Gaffney:
Frisco desk is, yeah. Those

Mike Sarraille:
Same things. It’s I, I lie, but

Michael Gaffney:
Hey, it’s not really

Mike Sarraille:
A lie. There is nothing more American than a cowboy. There is. I, I, I don’t know, like again, being in the military, never having even ridden a horse by that point. And we, we did mule training, horse training for pack mules, pack horses. We’d always say cowboy up, pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Yeah,

Michael Gaffney:
You do.

Mike Sarraille:
That’s why I’m fascinated to get into this with PBR. And this is, this is gonna be a great year for me. And I’m gonna learn a lot from you guys. And hopefully when I talk to the boys, as well as I’m gonna go, I’m gonna try to get Tim Kennedy. I’m also gonna get a guy named, uh, Jason, Jason Magnis, who has more combat experience times three than I could accumulate. And the guy is now he’s a FedEx pilot. He was a Navy seal. And now he’s a FedEx pilot, and I’m gonna get these guys to speak to the team and I’ll tell you what, you’re not, no other team is gonna have this group of, of guys. And I’m not including me that you’ll have Tim and you’ll have, uh, Jason and they’ll deliver. But Michael, I can’t thank you enough for joining us. I can tell you’re a, you’re a good man and hot damn let’s bring that championship back to

Michael Gaffney:
Auburn. What we’re going to, and I, I can’t say Michael, this it’s a pleasure for me because I just, I have the utmost respect for, you know, guys like you and my dad and, and, uh, you know, Tim and, you know, everybody that, that puts their lives in line for, for us as Americans. And I, and I, it just as sad as me that, that we are at the place we are at, um, because of what you guys have done and, uh, sacrifice for us. I mean, I truly, I, I just, and I think it’s gonna come full circle. And I think, I just hope that people learn to appreciate, uh, more of what, what you’ve done and what our, our service men and women do.

Mike Sarraille:
Michael, I definitely have thoughts on that, but that’s a conversation for another time, another time. Sure. All right, brother. Absolutely. Thank you for coming. All right. Thanks man. All right. Hey, and again, thank you guys for all the listeners for joining us. Another episode of the men’s journal every day we’re podcast, we will see you.

Episode 20

Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 20: Film Director Daniel Myrick
In episode 20, we spoke to film director Daniel Myrick who famously co-directed and wrote 'The Blair Witch Project.'
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Episode 21

Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 21: Dave Bautista and John Kural
In episode 21 of the Men's Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast, we spoke with actor Dave Bautista and tattoo artist John Kural.
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Episode 22

Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 22: Amy Van Dyken-Rouen
Men’s Journal’s Everyday Warrior With Mike Sarraille is a new podcast that inspires individuals to live more fulfilling lives by having conversations with
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Episode 23

Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 23: Drew Brees
In episode 23, we spoke with Drew Brees, former NFL quarterback who played for 20 seasons.
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Episode 24

Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 24: Kevin Jonas
Men’s Journal’s Everyday Warrior With Mike Sarraille is a new podcast that inspires individuals to live more fulfilling lives by having conversations with
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