Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Retired 64-year-old rodeo queen hates the sedentery life

If her battered joints are stiffening with the approach of winter, Jan Youren isn't complaining.  It's a deeper ache that pains her.  "I am not a person who sits around twiddling my thumbs," she says. "I'm not good at that."  But like it or not, Youren is getting older -- her 64th birthday has come and gone. She's like legions of others having trouble adjusting to retirement's slower pace. And yet, because of what she's retiring from, the challenge is uniquely her own.  "You know, when I quit rodeoing it's a big hole. This year it's harder...," says the five-time world champion bareback bronc rider, who only climbed out of the competitive saddle two years ago -- and would go back in a minute, if not for her kids, and grandkids.  "I never thought I'd stay doing it as long as I did. It's just hard to stop because it's very addictive once you start."  A lifetime of roughstock riding has left her with shattered bones, several fused vertebrae, plenty of scar tissue and shoulders that dislocate whenever she raises her arms above her head. The dislocating shoulders mean that at the end of a bronc ride -- when most riders would grab on to a pickup man, riding close by to whisk them to safety -- Youren must hang on until the bronc bucks her off. A hard landing on the arena's well-churned dirt floor has sometimes left her unconscious for a minute or two.  Five decades of watching this physical torture is enough, her family has decided. 
But Youren fears that once she really stops, the years of prophecies from orthopedic surgeons and emergency room doctors will come true.

Source/more:  Utah Daily Herald/AP, http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/248311/

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