Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 32: Professional Bull Rider Ezekiel Mitchell

Men’s Journal’s Everyday Warrior With Mike Sarraille is a podcast that inspires individuals to live more fulfilling lives by having conversations with disrupters and high performers in all walks of life. In episode 32, we spoke to professional bull rider Ezekiel Mitchell.

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:
Welcome to the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior podcast. I’m your host, Mike Sarraille. I’m joined today by Ezekiel Mitchell—25 years old, the only Black bull rider in PBR. Is that correct?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I guess at the Unleashed to Be Series or the Team Series level? Yeah. I’m the only one.

Mike Sarraille:
I wanna dive into that. And you’re 36th in the world.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. I’d like to be a lot higher than that, and I know I’m capable of being a lot higher than that. So, uh, I don’t know. It, it doesn’t sink in. I guess. It, it never will. I’ve been riding bulls professionally for I guess four years now. Four seasons, and I still don’t believe that I get to do this every weekend as a job.

Mike Sarraille:
I love that answer. Yeah. I mean, to anyone else, cuz there’s a lot of bull riders out there that aren’t ranked and would love to be in your position, but for you, it’s, it’s not good enough.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
No. Uh, I don’t think it’d ever be good enough until I win the world.

Mike Sarraille:
Is that the goal? Yeah.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
That’s ultimately,

Mike Sarraille:
Ultimately, you know, Um, Do you know who General Co Powell is?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Can’t say. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
You’re 25 in, uh, General Co. Powell, uh, was a, uh, you know, I don’t wanna get this incorrectly. I don’t wanna say he was the first Black four-star general but he was probably, he will go down in history as one of the greatest generals in the US military. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And he was once asked like, What does it feel like that you’re gonna go down in history as, uh, one of the best black generals in the U.S. military? And he looked at him and he was like, What does Black have anything to do with it? I wanna be one of the best U.S. generals in the history of the military. How does that make you feel?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I feel the same exact way. Um, you know, uh, like active on social media and stuff, and I’ll post things and people were like, Oh, you’ll be like one of the best Black cowboys. And I was like, I don’t wanna be the best Black cowboy or best Black bull rider. I wanna be one of the best bull riders. I feel like, uh, a lot of times in, in our society now, especially too, we get really caught up in the whole race thing. And I just think we’re all people and we all, you know, we’re all God’s children, so

Mike Sarraille:
Amen to that. You, you know, the one unique thing about, and, and I know you didn’t serve in the military that are loved is nobody cared if you were black or white. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> Hispanic or, uh, Asian, uh, men or woman, uh, straight or gay. Uh, if you were competent, if you were a great warrior mm-hmm. <affirmative>, That’s how we saw you. Yeah. Simply as that. Not, and, and, you know, there was, there was great black, uh, seals, there’s great white seals, but at the end of the day, none of that mattered. If, are you good at your job and do you have my back? Is all that mattered? So, uh, interesting story. I know you’re living in North Carolina right now and we’ll, we’ll get to that. But you were born, uh, in Rockdale, Texas for the, uh, for the listeners, they probably have no idea where Rockdale is. Uh, Walk me in. Yeah.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Rockdale is probably about a halfway point between Austin and Brian Col Station. Uh, so it’s somewhere in central Texas. Yeah. Little video town, probably population 3000 people, maybe at the most, at

Mike Sarraille:
The most <laugh>. Did, did you enjoy growing up there?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah, I did. I, I really enjoyed it. Um, growing up I moved back and forth, uh, with my mom and my dad. My mom, they’ve been outside of Houston. Uh, but I had to say, I guess as a kid being in Rockdale is more fun for me. You know, I was, uh, always riding horses and I was able just to be kind of kid that I wanted to be. I felt like whenever I’d go live with my mom, I was kind of boxed in because, uh, living in the city and neighborhoods and stuff like that, I, I really didn’t like it that much. So

Mike Sarraille:
I, I made an assumption. Were were your parents divorced at one point? Uh,

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. They, uh, I guess they’re never really married, so they were together had, uh, four beautiful children together. And, uh, after that, I guess it just didn’t work out. They had to go their separate way. And, uh, my mom ended up, uh, with my step, which I, I think of him as my second dad. I don’t think of him as good man. Yeah. Good man. Uh, both, all my parents are great people. So, um, I don’t know. It’s been a pretty cool life. I’ve, I got to have a lot of strong men in my life and, uh, my mom is amazing too. So

Mike Sarraille:
How, how important do you think that is? Cause I know there’s a, there’s there’s a lot of discussion about, you know, the presence of a, of man in the home or, or a male, uh, role model. Do you think that was pivotal to your sort of maturation as a, as a, as a man?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, having two different dads, I guess it, it made it even better because I had two perspectives on life, uh, in two, two ways. They both grew up and, um, I think it’s always super important to have a father figure or a male figure and, and another guy’s life. I’ve had a lot of male figures that have stepped up in my life and, uh, really helped me out to be the man that I am today. Uh, if I didn’t have their guidance. It’s the same way with kids that grow up in the streets though, and choose a different life. If you have male influences, the guy that’s showing you something bad Yeah. The dude, then you’re probably gonna grow up to do the same thing. So

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. We’re, we are definitely a product of our coaches and mentors in life, uh, either good or bad. Uh, and we’ve seen it, it’s, you know, the whole nature versus nurture. Have you ever heard of that concept? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Like you’re either born with a skill Yeah. Or it’s developed mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Uh, I, I believe nature, uh, or I will minimize nature. It’s all how we nurture the, the the young leaders. Yeah. Uh, coming up and, and I, I, you noticed that I said the word young leaders, I don’t care if there’s a young teenager who’s a man or a woman at the age of 15 that’s like a future leader of our country. Yeah. And you’ve gotta show ’em respect, whether you’re 30, 40, 50 older than them, uh, and build ’em up. Not, not, not push down, but, uh, so I read that, uh, you had 11 siblings total.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Something like that. <laugh>,

Mike Sarraille:
Uh, most of ’em still in Texas.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Uh, I think pretty much all of ’em are still in Texas. Oh, nope. I have a sister in Louisiana, but, uh, besides that, yeah, I think everybody’s pretty much still in Texas.

Mike Sarraille:
So you’re, you’re back, you come back to Texas quite a bit, I’m assuming, to, to see your family? Or is it, is it, is the rodeo dominating your life right now?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah, the rodeo. Uh, I try to get down here as much as possible and come see everybody, but, uh, being going every weekend, I don’t really feel like flying here instead of going home.

Mike Sarraille:
What, what, what is the life of a professional bull rider? Is that, I mean, is that pretty much 24 7, 365, or is there an off season?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Uh, even when we have an off season, it’s not really an off season. Yeah. The only time, uh, at least for me, the only time I’m really off is if I’m injured or something because, um, I, I don’t know, loving this sport so much, uh, can’t really stay away from it. Even whenever we’re supposed to have our off season or free time, we’ll still go out and enter like, the challenger events and like smaller events or hometown rodeo that’s close to us or, or something. So, um, I’m pretty much always going

Mike Sarraille:
And the sad realization, well, maybe it’s not sad, but, you know, it really, it really struck me when my career in the seal teams was over when I retired. Yeah. You, you only do have a, I don’t wanna say small, but there you only have a window that you can compete for so long before age and, and the body say, Yeah, I’m done. Um, so you were mainly, if, if I read this correctly, you focused on football and track in the early days?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Yeah. Uh, I was, I was really, really into track. I liked track a lot, um, and, uh, I was a distance runner and I did hurdles and like everything pretty much. Uh, and I don’t know, I, I really enjoyed track and then horses and rodeo and stuff took over and kind of forgot about football and, and track, so.

Mike Sarraille:
Interesting. So what was it about Rodeo that just pulled you in?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I don’t know what, from the time I was a kid, uh, I could never see myself doing anything else but being a cowboy, Uh, and we didn’t grow up with a lot of money, but like, whenever I, there’s a guy there in our hometown in Rockdale, uh, named Eli Green <laugh>. And uh, he pretty much gave me and my best friend, our first horse, and we spent a bunch of time together just riding, uh, horses and trying to train these little ponies for other kids in the neighborhoods and stuff. So, uh, I don’t know, it, it really just started consuming me then. And then I was like, Man, I’m gonna figure out what rodeo events I can do. So we taught ourselves how to rope. We made our own bucking barrels and stuff and bucked each other on ’em. And so

Mike Sarraille:
I, I read this, you guys used Car Springs, is this right? Yeah,

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I had one with a car spring. Um, I’ve had one, a few of ’em that just hung by ropes in a tree and um, yeah, we, we’d done tried and made, tried to make anything that we possibly could to make it work, but

Mike Sarraille:
Uh, with did with the car spring, did you guys weld or? Yeah,

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Uh, <laugh>. So, uh, pretty much had a neighbor, a few houses down that could weld and, uh, he was gonna teach me, but he pretty much just did it all hisself and yeah. Carried all the, uh, all the pipe and stuff down there. And I can’t even remember how I got all the pipe in the car springs, but found the car springs somewhere and he welded at some plates together for us and I had to cut a hole in this plastic drum and set it over the top of it and try to screw it in. So it was, uh, it was a whole experience.

Mike Sarraille:
You got pictures of it?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I actually do have,

Mike Sarraille:
I didn’t have to see him

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Later. Yeah, I think I have a picture of it on my Facebook for sure. Cuz uh, he’d come pick me up from Baytown and we had to haul that thing. Yeah. All, I’m pretty sure it’s still at one of my friend’s house in their backyard, unless he gave it away. Yeah. But it’s still sitting there. Had to drive it all the way back and there was no way to take it apart. So there’s like four foot of pipe hanging outta my dad’s truck, headed down to Rockdale.

Mike Sarraille:
So was, uh, was a live green also a mentor coach? Yeah.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Oh, most definitely. Uh, taught,

Mike Sarraille:
Taught you how to take care of horses. Ride.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
He was, uh, pretty much the first person in my life that showed me like how to ranch and work cows and stuff like that. He had, um, his own cows and horses and stuff like that. He has probably three or four places that, different ranches that he owns, Little plus of, uh, acreage I guess. And, uh, he, he’s pretty much who got us into bull riding too. He had these big jersey steerers, uh, pretty much to, they were gonna be fatten up and slaughter and for some reason we went out there one day and we roped him out there in the middle of the pasture and me and my buddy John would riding him across the pasture and the groups of the cows and stuff. And, uh, that, that was kind of my first experience with bull riding was just in the middle of a pasture. No

Mike Sarraille:
Kidding. Yeah. You know, I’ve always respected, uh, the cowboy way of life. All the dude, I, I was born and raised in San, like San Francisco, the Bay Area. Mm. So, uh, riding horses or, or any of that, or even farming and ranching was just not Yeah. Organic to the area. But when I finally joined the Mil military, I joined the, uh, the Marines first. Even all these kids from Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, uh, Alabama, that they either grew up on ranches farming or, or something else, but they were the most disciplined people up early. They, you know, they had these just strong habits. They, they did not shy away from high, like, hard work. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, they had no problem getting dirty. Do you think that led to a lot of your, your current habits that you have? Cause I’m sure a live screen was very strict about, hey, you gotta do things the right way, you gotta get ’em done.

Ezekiel Mitchell:

Yeah. Uh, he, yeah. The main thing that I really took away from him is, is just the fact to have respect for animals and the things that you have and take care of. You know, Uh, he had a old Ford truck and a thing look pretty much brand new. Pristine. Yeah. Pristine and, uh, drove it to the farm every day, but he just made sure he took care of everything he had. Um, and every vehicle that he had was nice. Everything had to be put in a certain place. If you borrowed a, a bridle or something, make sure you put it back exactly where you found it. Cuz whenever he goes to look for it later and it’s not in that spot, you’re, you hear Yeah, you’re getting an ear full.

Mike Sarraille:
Uh, when, when you give your ear full, was it yelling or was it more like that brotherly love, like, Hey, I’m not, I’m not upset, I’m disappointed, and you, you know, the right thing to do and you didn’t do it.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
It depend, it depended on the day and how, how bad it was. Fair. Yeah. Fair. Yeah. For the most part, he was, he just talked to us and, uh, you know, there, there was a few times though he got pretty mad at us and yelled at us pretty good. But that’s,

Mike Sarraille:
That’s fair, man. That is, uh, hey. Yeah, there was times, uh, my old man did it with Grace and then there was times where he brought the, uh, the hammer <laugh>. Uh, so I did read, and, and I’ve gotta verify this, that your initial step into bull riding didn’t start in the fields or in a rink? It it started in, uh, on YouTube. Yeah. Explain, just walk me through that. Well,

Ezekiel Mitchell:
About that time that we were hanging out with, uh, Mr. Green, uh, we were really trying to figure out what we wanted to do in rodeo. Me and my best friend there. And, um, I don’t know, I just started looking up There was, I actually looked into a lot of rodeo events, but I just type in the basics of bull riding. And then somehow, uh, I found this, uh, YouTube page called Bull Rider Coach One or something like that. And then it was, uh, Dusty Elliot, Dustin Elliot, and, uh, Wiley Peterson. And they were just pretty much given the basics on these drop barrels and, and like, I would just wait around every week until another episode would come out. And, uh, sitting at home, I’d just try to get on those barrels we built and try to do the same thing initially that they were doing. It was almost like somebody was teaching me how to ride bulls, but I just wasn’t face virtual face. Yeah, yeah. Virtually,

Mike Sarraille:
I mean, was the guidance they were putting out the fundamentals pretty sound?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Oh yeah. That’s, uh, both of those guys, I believe they both made the PPR world finals, the, the NFR and stuff like that. So, uh, it definitely was, I don’t know, It, it made it simple for me mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, uh, it made a lot of sense. Um, I, I really feel like they did a very good job of explaining bull riding and I got a lot of, give ’em a lot of credit for, you know, they, they pretty put pretty much put me into the sport I’m in. Uh, and I got to meet Dustin Elliot, uh, at the college finals one year and I was like, Man, you taught me how to ride bulls and you don’t even know it.

Mike Sarraille:
Where, So were you in the college

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Finals? Yeah, I made the college finals, uh, in bull riding two years in a row. Where,

Mike Sarraille:
Where, where’d you go to school?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Uh, Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas.

Mike Sarraille:
Hillsboro, Texas? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. And and they’ve got a pretty established radio

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Team. Yeah. Yes sir. We, um, he’s, Paul’s probably been there, our coach, Paul Brown’s probably been there 30 years or so. And, uh, uh, he’s, uh, had a lot of national champions and never had a national championship team, but we finished like second one year fourth. And yeah, he is gotten really close, but, uh, hasn’t got the win yet, but hope somebody can get it for him soon cuz he, he’s good as gold.

Mike Sarraille:
How, how do he find you?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Um, another guy, uh, that, um, he used to put on a free bull riding school. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I had met him and, uh, he really got to believe in me after a few years and he was a really good mentor. He, if I sent him my videos or whatever, he pretty much helped me figure out how to fine tune, uh, my bull riding a lot. He, he was one of the biggest people in my life then at that point because he really believed in me. Um, and at the time we, uh, he was like, Hey, there’s this bull riding called the best in the south bull riding. They wanna invite you. It’s like the used bull riding. It was like for, uh, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. Competitive. Yeah. Competitive. And they were trying to see who had the best kids, I guess. And, um, I was like, Man, I don’t have a vehicle.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
My parents ain’t gonna take me way out there. So he drove from this area, He lived in the Austin area, drove to Houston, picked me up, and then drove me all the way to Midland in the middle of the, the competition was Yeah. Where the competition was. And, um, when we were there he was like, Man, we should go check out this college Odessa College. They got a rodeo team. You should start thinking about going to college. Cuz at that time I’d been, oh, excuse me, I’d been outta high school for about a year. Yeah. And, uh, I was not doing much. I was making a lot of money. I mean, riding these amateur rodeos. Yeah. And we drove all the way out there and he showed me all deaths of college. And he was like, I’m just gonna put you together a promo video of all your rights.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
And I’m just gonna start sending them to sending them to coaches. And, uh, he sent them to the coach in Warden and Odessa and, uh, he’ll, he’ll college. And then I still kind of drug my feet on it for a while and I just, I was gonna go, but I wasn’t ever gonna go. And, um, Paul Brown, he was kind of nonchalant and let me go, um, pretty much the whole summer. And he’d call me and I’d call him, It was like phone tag, never really got each other on the phone. Yeah. And he was like, Hey, you know, if you still wanna come to school, you can come to school. And I was like, Man, I think I’ll go. So I rode with his son up from South Texas to, to Hillsborough. And, uh, the rest is kind of history on that deal.

Mike Sarraille:
It sounds like you’ve had a lot of influential, influential people, uh, in your life that help get you to where you are and, and when a lot of people, you know, I’ve met some professionals mm-hmm. <affirmative> who were the most arrogant people feel they did on their own. Uh, I I can get a sense from you that, you know, you, you, you’re very respectful of the fact that a lot of people help, uh, get you here. Yeah. Uh, do, Is it, is that something you hold dear and you’ll, you’ll never forget?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah, no, most definitely. Uh, I always, whenever I was growing up, I always figured like I, I’d want to be famous for something. Yes. You know? And I always heard like, money changes people or success changes people. Yeah. I feel like success does change people, but it doesn’t always have to be in a negative way. Um, and I also believe that, uh, being successful changes the people around you. Um, so I don’t know, you, you gotta be respectful and and thankful for everything that you have and everybody that’s helped you along the way. Uh, cuz I don’t think there’s a single person that’s done anything on their own. Um, and I really like to give back to those people that have been there for me.

Mike Sarraille:
I, you know, Zeke, you just said something that I’ve never heard before and I just wrote that down, man. Uh, being successful may change you, but it also changes the people around you. That’s, that’s powerful man. Um, and I noticed, and I’ve been told, you have a tattoo that says blessed and motivated. Yep.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
That’s right here.

Mike Sarraille:
Why, why those two words?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Uh, I don’t know. It just kind of became a mantra for me whenever, uh, right around the time that I started riding really good. And, uh, whenever I started going to college, um, for some reason everybody was posting on like, on their bull riding videos. I would like hashtag bless. And then I was like, Man, I’m blessed, but like, I’m motivated. I’m motivated to be better. And I feel like for the longest, that’s what I tell people. Like, it’s, I’m blessed just to be alive, so that motivates me to live another day. So, um, I figured that’d be my first tattoo because it, I just started living by it. I’m blessed and motivated and, uh, I guess, um, I was just a hungry kid then that wanted to get to the point that I am today. So, um, it’s pretty cool to live by and I guess it’ll be there forever. Yeah,

Mike Sarraille:
It will. Well, God bless medicine if you wanna get rid of it. Uh, yeah. A few lasers can. Uh, I’ve, I’ve had a few tattoos. I are still getting lasered off, but <laugh> and definitely getting some, uh, ink. I was just with, uh, you know who, uh, Dave Patista, the actor wrestler, uh, Avengers. He’s the big, Yeah.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay. Yeah. Uh, he, he just opened a, uh, tattoo shop in Tampa, really Florida with, with a, uh, famous tattoo artist, uh, John. So we just interviewed them on Friday. Um, amazing, amazing chop. So if you want more ink, we’ve got some, uh, great artists I can ever for you to. Well, hey man, I, I know it hasn’t been the smoothest ride. It never is. Where there is success, usually there’s adversity that shape is shapes us. I know, uh, life brought some unexpected challenges with Hurricane Harvey. Yeah. Uh, in 2017. Walk, walk me through, uh, what happened there and how it impacted your life.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Uh, I, I, at the time I was in school, I was up here, uh, well in Hillsborough and, um, got, uh, called my mom and them when I was talking to them and I was like, Hey, y’all probably should, you know, get up here or something. I’ll buy y’all a room if y’all wanna come. And she was like, I think we’re just gonna wait it out. So they did wait it out. Um, and, um, it got pretty bad. Flooded pretty good. And, uh, inside of the house, the drywall got ruined from the flooding. So, uh, to help my parents out, I, you know, took some of my own money and, uh, sent it to them so they can start making the process of fixing the house or whether that, or just helping the kids with school clothes. Like my siblings, uh, I always just tried to make sure I took care of my family, you know? So, um, I don’t know, I guess it was a big responsibility for a 19, 20 year old kid, but it was, uh, something that I felt that I needed to do, um, because there’s no way I’m gonna let my siblings or my parents sit in the house with no walls, you know? So, uh, whatever I had to do to help them out, that’s what I was gonna do.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. I’d say that’s, I, that’s pretty inspirational that a 19 year old or 20 year old is in a position to, to do that. Do you think the fact that you’re in bull riding Yeah. That you were in that position to

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Do that? Yeah. That was the craziest part about it. I had realized pretty early on, even before I started going to PBRs, like I was making just as much money or not more than my parents were, you know, as, as a 19, 20 year old kid. Uh, and that was, that was weird for me. Yeah. Uh, and I almost felt obligated to do that. I should have been doing more, you know, uh, because I’m 19, 20 year old kid. So. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Well, you know, I don’t think that ever goes away. You’re always, even when you do good, you always ask yourself, Could I do more? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and there is a point you gotta take care of yourself as well. Yeah. That’s one thing I learned too late in my career. Yeah. Is, uh, you know, the Marine Corps teaches, uh, uh, sort of a mantra that leaders eat last. So if you’re in charge of team, you make sure all your guys eat first. If gear comes in, they get the gear first and there’s stuff left over, you get it. I took it to the extreme and, uh, always, and I don’t wanna sound overly uh, altruistic here, um, always made sure my guys were taken care of before I was mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but it, it, it went to a point where it wore me out. So yeah. If I can pass you anything, man, that you’ve gotta take care of yourself as well in order to take better care. You just said it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, being successful changes the people around you. Well, you gotta make sure that you’re balanced to a degree as well.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Yeah. I’m learning that slowly but surely now, uh, I, I need to start taking care of myself a little better. Uh, especially now I’m 25, uh, and

Mike Sarraille:
Get old 25 getting old, man. What do you do? I mean,

Ezekiel Mitchell:
It’s bull rider years, man. I’m like 60 year, that’s true’s bull rider years. So that’s true. I gotta start taking care of myself and, uh, getting things settled in my life that I need. Uh, cuz I have goals and ambitions and plans after bull riding. I know that, uh, bull riding won’t last forever, and I honestly don’t want to get a real job anymore, <laugh>. So, uh, I’d like to just enjoy my horses and if I can make money off of them Yeah. That, that’s the thing that I’d rather do. I mean, I guess it’d still be a job, but I didn’t enjoy

Mike Sarraille:
It. I know what you’re saying. You don’t want the, uh, the office space eight to five behind the cubicle. Yeah. No, thank you. I’m with your brother. That’s why, that’s why I started my own companies. Uh, I guess I can never be fired, but sometimes it feels like the people, uh, on my team, uh, might have that responsibility. <laugh>. Uh, they won’t hesitate me to hesitate to tell me when I’m not pulling my, uh, my weight. Yeah. Um, so you know what, I, I think this is pretty good. Uh, actually no, uh, actually, yeah. You know, I’m gonna hold this until after the break, man. But, uh, uh, before we do aro break, we ask what we call the hard questions. Um, so first one is, what is the heart’s decision you’ve ever had to make?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Um, I, I’d have to say, um, moving from moving away from Texas, um, whenever, I guess 2019 into 2019 mm-hmm. <affirmative>, my rookie year, uh, I was living in Houston, uh, with my cousin. Uh, we had a rent house that we were staying at. And, uh, during that, that time we had a, actually had a PBR event in Houston. And, uh, Max, my agent came over to the house, uh, one morning and there was friends of ours that are just laid out on the couch house is kind of dirty. Um, and he was like, Man, how do you live like that? And I was like, I don’t know, You know, they’re friends, you can’t leave them behind. He was like, Man, if you move, if you wanna come up to North Carolina, I got a rent house that I own. You can, you can stay there for free.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I won’t charge you anything. Just come on up and get away from everybody. Start taking care of yourself. Worry about Zeke. And I was like, All right. I dragged my feet on that. I act like, Yeah, I’ll be up there in a few weeks. Oh, well I gotta do this and that. Yeah. And I’ll be there. And then next thing you know, I finally made the decision. I was like, you know, I’m just gonna go try it. I’m gonna see, I’m not gonna, I’m not even gonna take my vehicle up there, leave my truck in Texas. I’m gonna fly up, spend a few weeks. And then I, I really realized that that was the best decision for me, even though it seemed scary and it, Yeah. It, like

Mike Sarraille:
You, you’re leaving your, you’re the only network, you know? Yeah.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. I have, I know no one here, like, I’m by myself. I’m all alone. Uh, but I decided to make that jump and, um, I, I don’t regret it at all, Um, because I feel like it really showed some, some true colors on, on some people. And, uh, just the fact, uh, like you told me, whenever you leave here, you’ll be outta sight and outta mind. Yeah. People won’t ask you for money no more and could not be more true. So I guess I was only their friend whenever they convenient.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. Yeah. That happens. So you felt like you, like a lot of distractions just were removed and you, you became more laser focused on mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I’m gonna become number one in the world. Yeah. You, you know, it reminds me, uh, you know, I’d be in like Iraq and it, this was 2006, um, and it was, it was a very, uh, combat heavy deployment. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I got a letter cuz it, we were deployed during the summer and buddies, like, it was, I think August 1st or around August, I got the letter. He’s like, Bro, you missed, you missed the biggest party in Lake Tahoe. It was a rag, you know, like drinking Yeah. And women everywhere. And I’m like, and it, it hit me then I’m like, I didn’t miss anything, dude. Yeah. I’m exactly where I need to be surrounded by the guys who also believe in the same thing.

Mike Sarraille:
And we may be in the combat zone, but we were exactly where we need to be, man. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it was that, that was a sort of a, a revelation or a, a very particular moment, uh, that impacted my life. Uh, second question is, uh, and one of the things we don’t accept is no regrets. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, everyone has regrets, man. Uh, that’s like somebody saying, I’ve never, I never have doubts. Bullshit. We all have doubts. Yeah. The best leaders, the highest performers always had doubts. And if you, if you, if you really research into their lives and you talk to the people around them mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they’ll, they’ll, they’ll validate that. Uh, what’s the biggest regret of your life?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Uh, yeah. I, I’d have to go with, I don’t know, just not taking care of me, you know, uh, still, still not taking care of myself like I’m supposed to. You know? I feel like, uh, my biggest regret is like the lack of discipline, the lack of like the want to, to do stuff. You know? Uh, I feel like I, I haven’t been the best me that I can be. And, um, I really wanna find that that guy the best me.

Mike Sarraille:
You realize most 25 year olds wouldn’t say that <laugh>, they’re focused on, Hey, where’s the next party? And Yeah. And, and join, uh, if they went to go college, post college or that, That’s insane. And you call yourself, well, you didn’t say undisciplined, you said you’re not as disciplined as you would like to be. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if I went and spoke to people that know you, would they probably describe you as like insanely disciplined in their eyes?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I don’t know. I don’t think so. Uh, some, some people would, I guess not. Uh, I, I,

Mike Sarraille:
Let me ask you this. Do you, do you feel like you hold yourself to a higher standard?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I, I do hold myself to a higher standard, uh, in a lot of aspects in my life. Uh, but I, they could be higher. I’ve always been an athletic guy and I’ve never really had to work out or work for stuff, you know, and football on track, I was kind of just natural and I loved running. So running didn’t really make a difference to me to do. Um, but now, like I, I got a little older, a little lazier I guess. And, uh, I really want to crack back into, you know, somebody that’s hungry, that wants to, wants to be successful, not somebody that’s already successful and think, I don’t, I don’t like being content anymore. Yeah. And I feel like I, I’ve been content like the last two seasons. Two or three. Yeah, two seasons

Mike Sarraille:
Now. Now you’re making me reassess, dude. Yeah. I’m like, Oh, great. Now I gotta reassess my discipline. This is, this is insane. Um, how about other areas of, of your life beyond that? Like, do you, you feel you have discipline, like with finances? Um,

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah, now that too. Not as much. No. Yeah. I don’t have, I don’t have very good discipline when it comes to finances. Uh, I’m finally getting to the point where I, I am. Uh, but for the longest I had this mentality that, uh, you can’t take it with you when you go. Yeah. And, uh, I, I believe that. So I like, and I figured, I mean, I ride bulls good enough, it’ll always come. I’ll always have it. Yeah. You know? Uh, and, and that doesn’t seem to be the case, you know, I’m still comfortable, but I’m just not where I want to be. You know, I figured at, at 25 I’d be, I’d be in a big house and a big ranch and everything else, but I realized <laugh>, I, I, I did not take care of myself for the longest. I mean, as far as like, setting myself up for the future. And I, I really regret that too.

Mike Sarraille:
I guess. You got time. Yeah,

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I got

Mike Sarraille:
Time. You got time. I got time. Well, with that, we’ll take a midroll break and we will be right back. All right. And we are back with, uh, Zeki, uh, Ezio Mitchell, uh, Professional Bull Rider and part of the, uh, the new PBR team series with the Austin Gamblers. Um, you know, we talked about Hurricane Harvey, and we know that impacted your family and that impacted you. Uh, but you were in a position to help and you, you showed, uh, quite a bit of, uh, sacrifice to make sure that they were okay. I know that’s not the only thing that’s, uh, impacted you. Um, I know in January of 2019 something unthinkable happened. You lost one of your friends, uh, Mason Lowe. Uh, how did that impact you, man?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Oh, man. Uh, for, I, I, I don’t even know where to begin there, you know, uh, when he passed away, I think it just, it really shook the whole Western community first off. Like, not even just, just me, but you could almost feel like the life just leave the Western community that night when we found out, you know, uh, I was there, uh,

Mike Sarraille:
You watched, did you watch it happen?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I didn’t watch it happen because literally, uh, he rode right before me. Yeah. I was, And

Mike Sarraille:
So you’re getting ready.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I was very, that was the very next guy. Uh, so, uh, that was, I don’t know. That was sad, sad day. Um, and it was almost more scary. Like the fact that we left that bull riding, I didn’t have to get on again, and I had to literally, um, when we got back from Denver, I had to literally go straight to the practice pen and get on a bull because I felt like if I didn’t get on soon or fast enough, uh, I wouldn’t wanna do it ever again.

Mike Sarraille:
So, wait, he rides before you Uhhuh <affirmative>, the incident happens and you did not go next? They, they stopped the

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Oh, yeah. Competition. Well, no, they didn’t stop the competition. I still had to get on, but, uh, I don’t know. We didn’t know the extent of what it was.

Mike Sarraille:
So you didn’t quite know. All you knew was he was injured Yeah.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
At the time. Yeah. We knew it was bad. Just didn’t know how bad. Um, that was the scariest thing about it, you know? We, we thought for sure it, it was just okay. You know, And at this point, nothing, like on the professional stage, I mean, I’m sure there’s been some bull riding related desks mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but like nobody’d really seen something like that since like Lane Cross. Yeah. So like, I had another buddy pass away riding bulls a few years prior to that too. But like, and I wasn’t there, but like for this, I was there. Uh, and I don’t know that that’s, it was tough. Are

Mike Sarraille:
You, would you say you’re still processing that to this day?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Uh, I mean, not, I guess. I guess I am still processing it, but, uh, it was, I don’t know. It was, it’s tough. I mean, yeah, it’s still tough to think about, you know, But hey, I mean, we want to say, Yeah, he died doing something he loves or yeah, blah, blah, blah. But it’s still something that’s hard to understand, which

Mike Sarraille:
Is a lot more than a lot of people can say. Yeah. Um, but you, you just said something interesting. So you said once you got back from Denver

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Mm-hmm.

Mike Sarraille:
<affirmative>, you had to get on a bull as quickly as possible. That was you driving that. Yeah. That was personal to you, to, to make sure that the fear didn’t set in and cripple

Ezekiel Mitchell:
You. Yeah, that definitely, that’s, I guess that was my exact thoughts. Like, and at the time, like, uh, I ride in a helmet, of course, for the pbr. I went home and he rode in a cowboy hat. So wore my cowboy hat, got on in my cowboy hat. And, uh, I don’t know, I just had to make sure that like, the fear wasn’t gonna get to me. I, that’s when, and then it just kind of went back to the same routine once we got on the bulls. But it was just, it was really weird. Uh, really, it was really tough day. I mean, just, it was just tough through and through leaving Denver being there. I know it was, it was a hard day.

Mike Sarraille:
It’s interesting you say that because when we would lose a guy down range, we would try to get the guys, as we say, back out the door the next night mm-hmm. <affirmative> as quickly as possible to, to, to, to prevent what, what you were fearful of, of like that that, you know, rigor mor setting in where people didn’t want to go back outside the side, the wire. So, um, you know, I one or two to agree if, if it, like, it helps you just sort of compartmentalize that you, you start doing what you do again, you compartmentalize that and you deal with it later. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but it sounds like, you know, you’re moving forward Yeah. And you’re still processing that as, as I’m still processing a lot of the deaths, uh, of my brothers.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Don’t, Yeah. Yeah. It’s weird. Uh,

Mike Sarraille:
Did it also bring to, and I know you said you lost another, uh, buddy before this mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, is the, the risk of what you guys do never lost on you? Hmm. The risk of what you guys do bull riding, is that never lost on you? Like every, you know, I mean, you’re, you’re getting on what’s, what’s the average, what’s the average bull? Wait,

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Oh, I’m guessing about 1500 pounds or so

Mike Sarraille:
Insane.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
They vary from about 1300 to 2000 pounds or so. So yeah, they, I’d go ride in the middle of that and say 1500, 1500. But, uh, yeah, no, it, I mean, we, we all know like potentially what could happen. Yeah. Uh, but I’ve always been a firm believer in this. And, uh, this is like, me and my mom used to argue about she didn’t want me to Red Bull. So this used to be my argument all the time. Uh, but I can, I can die walking out this door and trip over a ledge or something, hit my head and you’ll never see me again. Or the fact that there’s more deaths in a car and we jump in a car every day. Uh, so I, I really made it a point to say like, I really don’t care. I can die doing whatever. So this is, this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Either way, I’m supposed to be riding bulls. The God gave me a passion. He gave me something that I never knew I was gonna have. You know, he’s shown me so many things, and I’ve got to see so much of this, this country, and hopefully I can continue seeing the rest of this world because of what bull riding’s done for me. So I, I know God put me here for that purpose. And if, if I have to pass away from riding bulls, then this is where God, God designs, This is where God wanted me to be. And, uh, I’m happy about it. You know, I’ll get to go, go to heaven, hang out with Jesus.

Mike Sarraille:
They’re yo <laugh>. Well said. Um, so tell me about, uh, Max Maxwell. He’s, uh, he’s your agent.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Uh, agent, friend, mentor, brother. Uh, I, I can’t say enough good things about him, you know? Um, and the, the story, uh, of us meeting is crazy. Uh, you wouldn’t, wouldn’t even suppose he lives in North Carolina. I’m from Texas. Yeah. I, I never would’ve thought that I’d even meet this guy or be on his radar. But, uh, I guess, uh, a few years back I did a piece with Vice Media or something like that. Yes. Yeah. Uh, and, um, in that piece, I was, uh, coming up in the bull riding world, you know, I was really trying to get to the point I am now. And, um, I sat in there at some point, he was like, What did, what did it take for you to get to the next level? And I was like, Well, money, you know, uh, if, if I can get the money to get on the road, uh, you take it to another, Yeah.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I can take it to another level. And, um, Max, I guess, went and found me off of that and looked me up on Instagram. And he commented under one of my posts, he was like, If money is the, uh, if money is the problem, he me. Yeah. Yeah. So I DMed him. Uh, a lot of stuff happened in between there. Like, uh, my phone broke, so like, I couldn’t, I didn’t talk to him for like two weeks. I was traveling up north, going to some rodeos, so I didn’t get to, I didn’t get a phone for two weeks. And me and this guy were talking about how he was gonna come meet me in Houston. And, uh, so finally get a phone, text him back and was like, Hey man, sorry, my phone broke. I wasn’t trying to ignore you. Uh, but yeah, I really could use some help.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
And he was like, All right, so you’re in Houston, right? And I was like, Yeah. He was like, Well, I’ll fly down there next week or something. We’ll go have breakfast. And I was like, Uh, yeah, right. This guy’s, this guy’s not gonna come. But I was like, All right, cool. And then that, I think he was supposed to be there on a Monday, and he hit me up Sunday night and was like, Hey, I’m not gonna make it tomorrow, so, uh, let’s shoot to reschedule this for Tuesday. And I was like, Oh, this guy’s really guessing now. But he shows up that Tuesday we go eat breakfast. Uh, and he asked me a few questions and he was like, All right, so do you think you can be at the top of your sport if you have the money? I was like, I, I don’t think I know.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
And he was like, All right, let’s get to work. So we left my little, um, I was driving a Crown Victoria at the time. Uh, you have a police car. And, um, we left it there at that breakfast spot. They had like a little parking garage over there. And he paid a guy $20 to watch the car all day. And I jumped in with him and we rode around town, uh, we went and got me all new Western clothes. And then he rented out a, um, a studio space. And we took pictures and head shots and Yeah. All kinds of stuff. And I was like, Man, this guy’s for real. And, uh, he was like, Yeah, where, where’s your next event? And helped me out, paid for me to get to Salinas, California. Uh, and then after that, I mean, we just got closer and closer and became friends. And, um, he’s really been a, a good influence on my life. And, um, even now my little brother, uh, is living up there for the summer while he’s outta school, and he’s helping him try to make him become a better person and a better man. Um, and I don’t know, Max is a great guy.

Mike Sarraille:
That’s, that is so awesome that you guys met over Instagram. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> funnier things that happened. Uh, my partner in my leadership development and, uh, executive search, front firm, uh, talent war group, uh, I met him over LinkedIn. He just so happened to live in Austin. Yeah. And we’ve written a, uh, bestselling book together and we started a company, uh, together. It’s, you know, that’s, that’s just the new age. Yeah. People meet on, on, on virtual, uh, platforms. Was it, uh, was it maxed to stress the importance of social media to you? Yeah. Cause I know you’ve got a massive falling, You’re probably one of the, I think I read it, you’re one of the only, uh, uh, writers with the dedicated social media, uh, media team.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Uh, we, yeah, we have a, we still have a social media team, uh, but yet Max is really big on, on branding. Yeah. You know, and he’s like, he’s like, You have a prime, a prime thing right here. Uh, he’s like, You’re you, you can, you can be whatever you wanna be, but like, live it up. Like, show people who you are. He is like, uh, he felt like the PBR or just bull riding Rodeo in general. They were like, Y’all do nothing for y’all self like y’all. Exactly. Y’all, yeah. Nobody knows anything about you, but you ride bulls. He was like, people want to act like, uh, actually know you. Like they, they wanna feel like they’re best friends with you. And I was like, Man, I guess. And started posting and realized how much like it does impact people. And it, and it helps, you know, uh, people want to know you. And, uh, that’s why I like going like, live on social media and answering questions and, um, cuz I, I feel like I wanna know my fans too. Uh, and I feel like they deserve more, to know more about me. You know,

Mike Sarraille:
I, I I bet you get some heartfelt messages mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, possibly from, you know, young men who, who wanna be just like you. How does that, how does that make you feel, man?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Oh yeah. I, I don’t know. It, it really, it, it really makes me happy, uh, to be influencing people. You know? It, at first it was, it was weird for me. Yeah. It was really weird. And, uh, I didn’t know how to re respond or react to it. And then I started realizing like how many, how many people look up to me and, uh, how, how I can be a positive influence on people’s lives. And, um, just the amount of like young kids that, uh, I, I love telling this story. Now, it’d happened recently. We, uh, during the PBR world finals, they had the bill picket invitational rodeo over there and, uh, in the stock yards. And I decided to go over there and watch cuz my cousin was riding. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> didn’t have nothing to do during the day. Yeah. So I was like, let’s just go over there.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
And I’m walking through, headed to the concession stand, looking down, got my head in my phone, and there’s this little kid that runs up to me and hugs my leg and grabs me <laugh>. And I was like, Whoa. And then his mom turns around, she was like, Oh my gosh, it’s you. And he is like, he loves you. You’re his favorite person ever. And, uh, she had to run up and go get his phone, her phone so he can take the picture. And, but he told me he loved me. And I was like, that, that like, really, I don’t know what that did to me. I, it

Mike Sarraille:
Do you feel a, a sense of responsibilities to all your followers? Like the way you conduct yourself and, and the the example you have to set for them? Yeah.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I, I try, I try to be the best that I can be. I mean, of course I’m still a 25 year old kid. I’m still gonna want to have fun. I’m still,

Mike Sarraille:
Man, you’re a 25 year old man. Yeah, yeah. Kid anymore.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I just, uh, I know I’m gonna, I’m gonna mess up. You know, we’re, we’re human. We’re not perfect. Damn. Right. But, uh, if I can do the most, for the most part, be that good role model, uh, that, that’s very important to me.

Mike Sarraille:
Hey dude, I’m 44 and my wife will go on for days, but all the mistakes I still make, so Yeah. You gotta catch yourself a little bit of a, a break. Um, what, what about the other side of social media? I have no doubt. I mean, hey dude, you, you’re good looking, uh, young man or or girls coming every which way from you over social media?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
No, not really.

Mike Sarraille:
I think he’s being modest. I I think he’s being modest.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
No, Yeah. It, it’s, I’m the hot TikTok cowboy now, apparently. No kidding. Oh,

Mike Sarraille:
I’m sitting here with the hot TikTok cowboy. Yeah. Hot. Wait, wait. Do you dance?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
No.

Mike Sarraille:
TikTok? No. Uh,

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Let’s see. Have I done any of the, I did like one or two of the dances back day. Yeah. I don’t know. I I like to dance like I dance all the time, but, uh, I don’t know. It’s something about dancing in front of a camera for me. It it’s a little odd. Yeah, it’s odd.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. You dance on a bull. Yeah. Uh, what, what, what, what, uh, what dancing do you like? Is it you like, uh, country dancing or, or,

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I like anything really? Yeah. I mean,

Mike Sarraille:
You can cut a

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Rug. Yeah, I can cut a road. Here you go a bit.

Mike Sarraille:
Well, dude, uh, you know, I know you got drafted, uh, as the, with Austin Gamblers, you’ve got an amazing group of teammates mm-hmm. <affirmative> and one hell of a coach who I actually have on the podcast, uh, as well. Do you call him G Man? Yeah.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
G Man.

Mike Sarraille:
I, and I know you knew who he was growing up. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. What, tell me about G-Man. I mean, is it, is it surreal that he’s your coach, man?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Yeah. I, I remember being a kid and like, especially when I first started watching bull riding, really getting into it, watching G-Man ride a little yellow jacket, you know, um, I, I’d always wanted to meet him. And then, uh, I guess when this team concept started coming around, he started slowly coming back in into the world and I was like, Oh, snap. Finally get to meet him. He’s just like the coolest, nicest guy ever in the world. And now to be able to work with him and, and the rest of these guys on my team, um, it’s pretty amazing. And, uh, I, that, that was a huge reason why I, I actually didn’t get drafted. I got picked up in free agency. Yes. And, uh, that’s one of the biggest dis reasons I made the decision to come here was was him. Uh, I felt like he was like, he was genuine about everything. That his,

Mike Sarraille:
You just a word. I was gonna say, genuinely authentic man.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. And, uh, it wasn’t like he was, he was trying to sell me or pitch me on coming over here. He was just like, Hey man, we really want you to be here and if, if you wanna come you, we’d love to have you. And, and just left it at that. It was pretty simple. Uh, it wasn’t no, no gimmicks or nothing like that. He was just genuine. And I was like, that’s somebody that I, I really feel comfortable being around and, and learning from. And he’s been a world champion, so he knows what it takes to be a world champion. I love, and that’s what, that’s what I wanna be. I wanna be with winners.

Mike Sarraille:
It iron sharpens iron, so is one man sharpens another. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Uh, so I, I know you respect all your teammates mm-hmm. <affirmative>, is there one teammate in particular who you, you recognize, Hey, you know what, I can actually learn a lot from this, uh, from this man?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I, I don’t think I, I could say that, uh, I don’t, I can’t really pinpoint one guy. Um, and it’s crazy how, how good our team is. Like the, the guys on our team is phenomenal, like topnotch. Uh, I’m really privileged to be with these guys and, uh, I don’t think there’s one guy there that doesn’t want to help build each other up. So like, I think that’s one of the biggest things that gonna help us be successful. This year is the fact that we’re, we’re behind each other a hundred percent. So, uh, I know that this team is gonna be behind each other, so I don’t know who’s gonna be able to teach me the most, but I’ll probably be able to tell you if we do another podcast one day. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Okay. Know that’s fair. I’m, I’m sure you’ll learn from each of them, there’s always one little aspect that they, they do something better than everyone else. Um, what are your predictions for this, uh, this season?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Um, I don’t, I don’t wanna be too cocky, but I, I really feel like the Austin gamblers are gonna take it all home and it’ll be pretty evident, pretty quick that we’re, we’re here to play. You

Mike Sarraille:
Can bring that championship home to Austin.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. I think in everybody, everybody’s like, all they get to see is our fun, like, the fun that we’re having, like when we went out on the boat and all this other stuff and all these teams are like, Oh yeah, y’all, y’all are just half as it, or whatever. And I’m like, No, we, we actually work hard, you know? Yeah. It’s not our fault that our coaches just let us have fun afterwards. <laugh>.

Mike Sarraille:
Yeah. All work. No, uh, fun made. Uh,

Ezekiel Mitchell:
And I feel like that’s another fun element to our team too. Like, uh, like we work really hard and then we all get along. So it, it makes for a fun time. Work

Mike Sarraille:
Hard. You party hard. Yeah.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. We don’t even have to party. We just hang out. Like, we’ll sit there and play Black Jack with no money and just sit around playing.

Mike Sarraille:
What is

Ezekiel Mitchell:
That? Yeah,

Mike Sarraille:
I know. I mean, you know, the name of your team is the Gamblers, right? Yeah.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Yeah. We need, we need, You

Mike Sarraille:
Guys gotta step up the game. Yeah.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. We’re just gonna get JJ to like, just pitch in a pot and then we’ll just play for the

Mike Sarraille:
Pot <laugh>. We’ll, we’ll see what, uh, JJ has to say about that. Um, well, you know, before we get to our sort of rapid fire questions, you said you did have some aspirations beyond, uh, professional, uh, bull riding. I know you want to own a ranch. Um, tell me what that vision is. Did.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Uh, well really I want, I want to, I wanna own a ranch. Uh, I wanna have a whole bunch of horses. You know, I, I, I’d really like to get into raising quarter horses, registered quarter horses, Uh, don’t really have, want to raise bulls anymore, so, Yeah. Yeah. Just gonna leave that out there. Uh, but I also wanna do some acting. I wanna, uh, try to do some, like, crossover stuff that way. Like, I feel like we gotta move bull riding in our sport into the mainstream media, you know? Um, the Rock is a huge reason why the WWE was so big, is because he was that crossover guy. He brought so many eyes into that sport, and I’d like to do the same for, for bull riding eventually.

Mike Sarraille:
Hot damn dude. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, he’s, he’s got a face for, uh, for movies. Dude, you, you would crush it all. Well, you know, I would love to, to help there and may be able to connect you with some people. Not that I would ever, uh, I, I’ve got a face for radio, as they say, <laugh>, Um, which I’ll always, uh, stay behind, behind the u or besides the YouTube, We, uh, we do. Um, no, man, that’s, that’s an awesome goal. Yeah. That you, again, having, uh, just interviewed Dave Patista, he’s, you know, basically said that there’s nothing wrong with being famous mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And he, he, he defined it in a way of like, there is a level of impact. I’ve no, I know I’ve had on the world when I fly too, he’s like, Bulgaria and step off the plane and people are like, Oh my God, it’s, it’s you. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, uh, the fact that you want to do it and you wanna bring bull riding to, to the mainstream is, uh, is awesome. Do we, do we need to get Yellowstone to, to get you out for, for, for a scene? Yep. Cause they are crushing it right now. That’s

Ezekiel Mitchell:
What I’m saying. And I’m friends with some of the people on, on, on some of the shows or the 1883 spin off of

Mike Sarraille:
Friends with

Ezekiel Mitchell:
A few of it. One, the few of those guys. So, got to meet those, those guys, and they’re pretty cool. Uh,

Mike Sarraille:
That, that’s a, that’s a damn

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Inspiration. Got seeds. I’m like, Hey man,

Mike Sarraille:
That’s, that’s all you can do, man. Tell

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Taylor Sheridan that, you know, I’m

Mike Sarraille:
Available and, and just continue to, to do, to increase these social media following. It’ll, it’ll happen, dude. It, it will happen. Uh, do you think that you’ll have to redefine yourself in a sense, picking up the, the skill of acting?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Uh, I, I’ve already, you know, I already feel like it’s gonna be something that I’m gonna have to work at. Yeah. You know, uh, just like anything. But, uh, I feel like we all think, Oh yeah, I could do that. Because I mean, as you watch movies and stuff, but I really, uh, as I start to look in it more, look into it more, I, I think it’s gonna be a lot tougher than I thought. But, um, I’m always up for a challenge and, uh, hopefully westerns just staying in like the now. Yeah. And everybody likes Western, so I can just keep being a western actor.

Mike Sarraille:
There’s nothing more American Yeah. Than an, than an American cowboy man.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. See, I don’t wanna, I don’t have to play any other parts if they just cast me as a cowboy.

Mike Sarraille:
I think what, what a lot of people don’t recognize cuz they don’t know history, is you go to the 19th century, what was it, out of every five cowboys,

Ezekiel Mitchell:
One in four,

Mike Sarraille:
One in four. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> was

Ezekiel Mitchell:
African American and

Mike Sarraille:
Right.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Man. Or native or Mexican. Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
Um, let, let’s get to the rapid fire. This is where we put you to the test. Dude. Wait. And, uh, if you need a pause to think that’s okay. I mean, that’s, uh, let’s go with this. Uh, what advice would you give somebody who ever experience experience this failure?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Oh, failure is a part of everything. Uh, you, you have to fail in order to succeed. Um, I think the, the only problem is with failure is, is if you’re allowed to stay, let you stay down. You know, if you can fight through it and, and come back failure, you’re supposed to be a part of

Mike Sarraille:
It. Damn Right. I, I couldn’t have said that any better. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Probably just that. Yeah. You know, uh, don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to, to strike out, you know, in a sense, uh, it’s all good. Just make it happen.

Mike Sarraille:
Uh, do you like the, uh, the phrase pull yourself up by your, uh, your boots? Yeah, yeah. <laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Um, you know, we often talk about, you know, the, the title, the podcast is The Everyday Warrior, Uh, warrior means nothing about the profession of arms. That’s, that’s a war fighter. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, what does it mean to you to be a warrior?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Oh, man. I think to be a warrior you have to be courageous and, and resilient. You know, Uh, whenever I think warrior, I, I think of that the Native Americans and just, and them being fierce. Yeah. And, uh, protecting what they love at all cost, you know? Um, and fighting for something that’s greater than yourself. I think that’s what a warrior, true warrior is.

Mike Sarraille:
Joey, it sounds like you’ve studied Native Americans, you have a respect for their culture. Yeah, I have.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
So do I, uh, what do you, what mindset do you believe is most crucial to anyone’s success?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Uh, positivity. I think, uh, being positive is, is is huge in anything because, uh, your mind already is, is babbling you throughout the day. Like, do I look good today? Do I, I, could I do this better? Could I do that better? You did this wrong. You did that wrong. Like, your, your mind’s always trying to put you down. So I think like, counteracting that with being positive all the time, just trying to stay positive. Eventually you can start tricking yourself into being happier. You know, even if you’re having a bad day, being faking positivity will lift your spirits, you know? Yeah.

Mike Sarraille:
It, dude, positivity, uh, what is it? Positivity breeds positivity. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and we’ve been even in some fierce firefights where we’re surrounded and one guy would cro crack a joke mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and it would reset everyone’s mindset. Like, Hey, Yeah, what are we worried about? It’s us. Yeah. We got this. Whether we’re outnumbered or not. That’s, that’s good. So we, we we end with two questions, man. Um, well, let me ask this. What is your greatest accomplishment to date? Or what do you want your greatest accomplishment to be in life?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Um, man, I, I really hope to win the world. Uh, and in doing so, that’s one of my main goals is to inspire and influence people. Uh, because, uh, I feel like up until, I mean, I know of a lot of black cowboys that are successful in rodeo, but this new age of a social media and, uh, me having a presence there, if I win the world or, or something like that, I can be even more of an influence. And people will realize, like, you don’t have to look like what you think, um, a bull rider’s supposed to look like, or a scientist or whatever. You can do whatever the heck you wanna do, as long as you put your mind to it and, and, and you want it bad enough.

Mike Sarraille:
Even the, the, the young girls watching this. Yeah.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I, I, I’m, I’m ready to see a girl, like step up and like become a PBR boy Rider. Um, I don’t know when that, Would

Mike Sarraille:
That put a smile on your face? Like hot

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Damn. Yeah. I, I think it’s cool. I think it’s cool. Uh, a lot of people don’t like the idea of it, but, uh, I think it’s cool. I, I I can’t tell anybody. No, because the simple fact is that people told me I didn’t look like the part, or I wasn’t gonna make it. No kidding. Yeah. So I, I didn’t want Wait,

Mike Sarraille:
Wait. Based off the color of your skin.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah, I guess some of it was, you know, um, but it was mostly like my elementary teachers and stuff. Like, they didn’t ah, they didn’t think I was gonna be a cowboy or it was a stage or a phase or whatever.

Mike Sarraille:
Hey, hey, let me tell you about elementary school teachers. Uh, they’re often wrong. Yeah. And we’ve heard this from a lot of high performers where their school teachers told their parents, This kid will never amount to anything uhhuh, and they were wildly wrong. Uh, but I’ll leave my commentary for, uh, <laugh>, uh, current elementary and grammar school, uh, teachers for later date. Um, so to the final questions we do is, uh, what are those, And it doesn’t have to be three, those one to three things that are non-negotiable for you, that have been your keys to success. And, and when we say that we know that you can even follow your own tenants and sometimes you end up unsuccessful, but mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what, what are, what are the, the, the mindsets, the attributes that you hold dear? Like, discipline, things like that?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Yeah. Uh, first off, like faith, uh, my faith is, is huge to me. Um, I may not be the, the most perfect Christian in the world. Uh, but I, I do love, I love, I love Lord. And, uh, I feel like, uh, that that’s the number one thing that holds me together. That’s the glue to everything. Um, and then, uh, I guess confidence, probably. I feel like, uh, even faking confidence sometimes, you

Mike Sarraille:
Know, fake it until you make it. Yeah.

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Fake it until you make it. I, uh, because I mean, especially in this sport, uh, it’s easy to get torn down. Uh, I mean, you’re riding something that outweighs you by 10 times and you’re, I mean, you’re not really supposed to be able to do it. I mean, that’s one of the coolest things about being a bull rider. It’s like making the impossible possible. Like, you look at a bull, you’re not gonna think like you’re supposed to. The guy’s not supposed to be able to do that, Let’s just be honest. Um, so, uh, that, I guess those are my two, my faith and my confidence. Okay.

Mike Sarraille:
I love that. Making the impossible possible. What we, I actually say that quite a bit. Yeah. Cause I served with a group of guys that you put them together. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they would make the seemingly impossible possible. Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome. Um, all said and done. When you look back on your life, how are you gonna determine whether you’ve lived a life of impact and purpose?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
I think that’s one of the biggest things in, in my life, is I wanna inspire because somebody’s gotta have drives. There’s gotta be someone there in your mind that makes you wanna be better. And if some people don’t have a father figure, or if they don’t have somebody to look to, I could be that guy, you know, Even if they don’t know me personally, but, uh, uh, they’re like, I wanna be like him,

Mike Sarraille:
Brother. I can thank you enough. And again, excited to watch you, sir. All right guys. Hey, I appreciate you joining us with the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior podcast. Uh, especially sitting down here with a warrior in, in your mindset at Ezekiel Mitchell. Uh, where can they find you on social media? What are your handles?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
Uh, uh, my Instagram handle is the blue Mitchell, t e Blue Mitchell. And same thing for TikTok, the blue Mitchell, but 90 at the end. 9 0 9

Mike Sarraille:
Oh <laugh>. Or as he said, known as the what type of, what was it? The TikTok? Another?

Ezekiel Mitchell:
No, the Hot Cowboy Now. Hot

Mike Sarraille:
Cowboy, TikTok Cowboy. Yeah. What a, uh, what a label, man. Alright, we will see you again next time. Thanks for joining us on another episode of the Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast. Hey, whatever platform you utilize to listen to our podcast, please, please leave a review. We read all of them. That’s how we get better. And lastly, again, thank you to our sponsor, Pendleton Whiskey. We’ve got your six. Cheers.

Episode 33

Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 33: Coach J. B. Bickerstaff
Men’s Journal’s Everyday Warrior With Mike Sarraille is a podcast that inspires individuals to live more fulfilling lives by having conversations with
Play
Flip podcast card

Episode 34

Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 34: Pete Hegseth
Men’s Journal’s Everyday Warrior With Mike Sarraille is a podcast that inspires individuals to live more fulfilling lives by having conversations with
Play
Flip podcast card

Episode 35

Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 35: Shaun White
We spoke to Shaun White, five-time Olympian and three-time gold medalist in half-pipe snowboarding, about his latest venture, Whitespace.
Play
Flip podcast card

Episode 36

Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 36: Glen Powell
In episode 36, we talk to Glen Powell about 'Top Gun Maverick' training and his upcoming role as a Medal of Honor winner in 'Devotion.'
Play
Flip podcast card

Episode 37

New
Men’s Journal Everyday Warrior Podcast Episode 37: Jurica Barac
In episode 37, we spoke to Jurica Barac, chief executive officer of HIGHLANDER, which provides hiking expeditions around the globe.
Play
Flip podcast card