The Bull Rider

This cowboy is unique. His personality exudes the kind of machismo and frankness one might expect from such a character. But his most essential training practice may come as a surprise: meditation

I was fascinated and intrigued by the iconic cowboy characters living out an understated yet dramatic, high-stakes existence against such a spartan, other-worldly backdrop. Sure, much of this was a Hollywood fantasy, but the west truly was once the land of cowboys and indians. And now, in a relatively short period of time, things have changed quickly. Instead of sprawling ranches dotted with quiet loner cowboy types, the landscape is now largely populated by homogeneous residential communities and big box retailers.

Perhaps out of a desire for life to seem simpler, and less encumbered by the lifestyle inherent to all our modern conveniences, I went looking for the closest thing I could find to that cowboy from the silver screen. This is how I happened upon Gary Leffew, an old-school yet surprisingly gregarious rodeo cowboy with some profound things to share about his philosophy on life and his sport.

After meeting Mr. Leffew, I was haunted by this feeling that he represents an era that is slowly disappearing and becoming part of the region’s history. It was this feeling that urged me to make a character-driven short film that would encapsulate his character, experiences with the sport of rodeo, and general outlook on life.

  • Credits
  • Directed by:
  • Joris Debeij
  • Cinematography by:
  • Nate Hurtsellers
  • Steadicam Operator:
  • Jarrett Morgan
  • Sound Recording
  • Greg Hartunian and Ari Balouzian
  • Edited by:
  • Joris Debeij
  • Composer:
  • Cliff Dweller
  • Double Bass:
  • May Whipple
  • Guitar 1:
  • Greg Hartunian
  • Guitar 2:
  • Cary Singer
  • Bass:
  • Cary Singer
  • Viola:
  • Ari Balouzian
  • Vocals:
  • Ari Balouzian
  • Sound-design by
  • Ari Balouzian
  • Colorist:
  • Chris Hall
  • Special Thanks:
  • Gary Leffew and the Leffew family, Richard Bj√∂rlin, Philip Westergren, Mike Carter and Clyde Bessey.