25 minute read

Dale Brisby Interview by Tracy Wager

Q - Your Look - The hair…when did that style start?

A - Long hair, don’t care. So when you don’t care, the first thing you don’t care about is your hair! So, it gets long. A lot of people ask me if it is real, if it is my hair. Yes, its real and it is my hair, and I have the receipt to prove it.

Q - How to be a Cowboy. When did you first start with that slogan?

A - What I usually say is, “You Ain’t No Cowboy,” rather than How to Be A Cowboy. I teach people how to be a cowboy through my internship program. But, “You Ain’t No Cowboy” is more popular for what Dale Brisby tells people. Dale Brisby has set the rules on what it takes to be a cowboy. That is what gives him the authority to determine who is and who ain’t one.

Q - How long did it take to get traction?

A - It took about as long as the first video we did on that subject, which was about three and a half minutes. That video went crazy viral! When that video came out in late 2016 or early 2017. That was a hit, but what really put my work on people’s radar was that we have consistently been putting out quality content for eight years. To be honest, it is the content. A lot of people in general try to identify the time this all exploded. Some people will say, “Man you all hit a lick,” or “man you blew up”. Those terms are relative. Essentially what it has been, is a really slow and steady grind for almost a decade that has gotten me to this point. A lot of people have come to watch and follow my content recently, and they may see it is a “recent” explosion, but for me it has been a long and steady, and very enjoyable but long road.

Q - That is inspiration for folks that may not realize that things may take a lot longer to reach success than they perceive?

A - Longer than most bull riders careers. I imaging the average Bull Riders career is six or seven years. You have got some of those that will stick to it a little longer, like someone I mentor that a lot of people may have heard of, J.B. Mauney. J.B. has been at it for 15 years. He has been at it longer than that. He has gone to the PBR World Finals 15 years in a row. Mauney is now about to walk into his first NFR as a 34 year old legend. To me it has been a lot of fun, all the way around. I enjoy making videos, I enjoy making people laugh, I enjoy being in a Rodeo Arena, on the back of a horse. I look forward to every single day, and I do not take a single day for granted. I don’t take a single fan for granted, I don’t take a single view for granted. People have asked me what I would do if it all ended. But, they don’t realize how cheap the cost of living is in Winnebago, Texas!

Q - You’ve used humor to define your image Were you always funny?

A - Yes, Ma’am, I was always the class clown. My Mom always thought I was funny! She always laughed. I loved making teachers laugh. I love making co-workers laugh. Sarcasm, comedy and humor have

always been a great way to cope with crappy situations in life, which I have had plenty of. Everybody has, let’s be honest. That is how I made it through 2020, it was Jesus and Memes. Laughter is the best medicine, unless you are treating diarrhea - of course!

Q - As a little kid what did you want to be when you grew up; a cowboy, comedian, or actor?

A - Everything was second to being a Rodeo Cowboy! As a young man I always had entrepreneur tendencies. My Grand-Dad was an entrepreneur, and my Dad was a Cowboy. That was the best combo, I think, for Dale Brisby. I went on a school field trip when I was in elementary school and we did not have a lot of money. I did not have money for lunch. So, I took a bunch of Yo-Yo’s, cause Yo-Yo’s were hot back then, and I sold them all. It paid for my lunch, and I came home with $36.00! That is when I knew I really enjoyed sales and I enjoyed hustlin’’. When I got out of High School and went into College, I realized what I wanted to do. I wanted to do something where I could be my own boss, mainly because I wanted the freedom to Rodeo. My Dad was a Cowboy and worked at the Pitchfork Ranch. He was a real Cowboy. He was a mix between John Wayne and Woodrow F. Call. My Grand-Dad was an entrepreneur. He was not the “Wolf of Wall Street,” but he was a hustler. Those two culminated into what I am today, and that is someone who is passionate about Rodeo, passionate about being a Cowboy, but also someone who really enjoys hiring employees.

Q - After building a large following on social media you pivoted into NETFLIX, that is a move no one else has pulled off. Why you, what triggered that event?

A - They called me, and that is one thing that is important. Anytime that you receive the call, you have a lot more leverage than when you make the call. I knew that every video that I put out, after a couple of years of putting out content, I realized that I was not as much concerned with how many views the videos got so much as who was watching each video. I was waiting on an opportunity that someone with a production company, someone with a network, someone with a streaming service would see one of those videos.

And lo and behold, that is what happened. Video, after video, after video - YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, SnapChat, LinkedIn, Discord, everything, you name it, we are putting it there. Then finally somebody saw it. They made a call, who made another call and then we got the Netflix show. As an entrepreneur, I am always 20/20 looking at the horizon. Like, what am I going to do in a down economy when I have an apparel brand, etc. I thought, “Well a Netflix show, sure won’t hurt the brand.” So, that came to fruition and God really blessed us there. We were all very thankful to take advantage of it.

Q - What tips can you share other folks trying to score some of the Dale Brisby magic or score a show of their own?

A - If someone is coming after the greatest Bull Rider of All Time, what they need to realize is that the best that they will ever be is second behind Dale Brisby. Outside of that, the things that I do, that I execute on daily, in terms of a Rancher, Cowboy, Rodeo Cowboy and an entrepreneur. There are fundamentals. Just like in Bull Riding, in business there are fundamentals. When you execute those fundamentals daily, over time, if you have persistence and you consistently and give it everything you have. No matter what you do, you have to have work ethic. If you execute those fundamentals over time, eventually you can’t help but be successful. Coming up with a good idea is the easy part. You and I, right now, could sit for 20 minutes and come up with 5 - million dollar ideas. That’s the easy part. It’s the execution that people don’t do. Everybody has a million dollar idea, they just don’t execute on it. With what I do on social media and business, with building a brand, there is nothing special about it. Outside of the fundamentals I am executing on. Now, having talent, is something that comes along with it in terms of business. If you want to be the face of the company, and you want to be on TV, and you want to make people laugh, and that is how you build your brand. Then you need to have talent, but if you do not have that talent, partner with somebody that does. Then you work behind the scenes. It is the exact same when being a cowboy, I have interns come in. I have had 20 to 25 people that worked for me that essentially were working for me to learn a craft. Whether it be Bull Riding, Bronc Riding or just being a Cowboy. One thing I told a young man, he had never been on a horse when he showed up, and he wanted to be a top hand cowboy. I told him #1, unless you are super creative, you might need to consider the fact that if you want to be a ranch hand you are not going to have a lot of money moving forward. If you are OK with that, and you still want to go down this path, what you need to do is wear a lot of leather off of that tree. What that means is that you sit in the saddle so much, that you wear holes in that saddle. And that is how you do it. Like Tiger Woods says in Golf, “Same boring strokes every day.” In terms of my faith, like you mentioned earlier, that is the absolute easiest to get started with. Everything else I talked about, whether it is getting a paycheck, being a World Champion Bull Rider, being an entrepreneur, you do the work first and then you get paid. The thing about being a Christian. In Christianity it is the opposite, because it is a Gift. When you receive Christ, that is when you receive salvation. Then you work out your salvation after you receive it, because it is a Gift. It is a Gift, it is not a wage. It is actually the most simple thing to do. People over complicate it, but if you love Jesus and you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that He is the Risen Savior, well then you are saved. Then all of a sudden, the rest of your life is just a reflection of that salvation. The cowboy stuff, the business stuff, all that takes the hard work before your successful.

Q - How are you managing your enriched celebrity?

A - In terms of staying positive, one of the main things I try and give myself every day is perspective. I get really good, and this is going to sound morbid, but I get really good at imagining that those closest to me pass away that day. It is a trick that I learned from Gary Vaynerchuk. Essentially, it is a trick that will give you gratitude in the day. If your most closest family member, or best friend, if you were to not have those 2 or 3 people in your life. You realize, wait, I do have them! This does a couple of things. #1 it puts into perspective the little things that go wrong in your day, and #2 it also helps you with those relationships with those people. You are a little bit more forgiving when you are just grateful that they are alive. As far as my overall attitude. I have a Bible study every night with myself and every morning with myself. So, I try and start and end my day with that. That is where I try and put my hope and foundation. If you spend too much time on the news feed, or on the media, they literally make more money with the most depressing story they can find. So, that is not the best place to find hope. In terms of management, making big decisions, hiring, firing, supply chain issues, money. That is more of a one day at a time thing. I try to make decisions that I wish I had made 5 years from now. When it comes to money, or hiring, or when you consider debt is something you want to do or not do. Like those kind of major decisions, it is all based on what will I wish I had done.

Q - It is like living everyday as a gift?

A - 100%, and being a Christian, once you realize that, “Hey I definitely do not deserve salvation. I don’t deserve to be alive. I do not deserve the gift’s that God has blessed me with everyday”. That puts things into perspective like, “Oh wait, I am undeserving of all of these blessings. Yet, I am going to be grateful”. Then all of a sudden, you go and listen to Yeonmi Park, who escaped from North Korea and you hear what life is like over there. Then you are like, “Oh, wait, as bad as it is here, we still got it pretty good”. I am not saying as far as things that can’t be changed, I am saying that, as far as my attitude. I need to have an attitude of gratitude. That is what helps life day to day.

Q - Who is Gary V?

A - Gary Vaynerchuk is a guy I met 6 years ago. He came over from the Soviet Union when he was a couple of years old, so he is an immigrant. He is a social media guru, an entrepreneur, a tycoon. He puts all of his content out there for free. The jokes on him, I would have paid more. He is the real deal. I try and emulate my business decisions after his.

Q - Filming and all that goes with television production takes time. How has that effected your day to day life?

A - It was pretty chaotic. Filming, it took two months. It was five days on, and two days off. They were Union workers. It was an all day deal. We did not start until about 9:30 in the morning. I could not talk about it on social media, and we had to continue to operate as a business for two months. I was filming a Netflix show, I still had my biggest months revenue wise on YouTube that I ever had. We put out more videos then we ever had. I still continued to post on social media. At the time we had 12 or 14 employees that I was managing. Now we have 18. I was still running all of those companies while we were filming for two full months. I was a Producer on the show and it took us two whole months to film 6, twenty-two minute long episodes. Stress level, through the roof! I did not take a break when it was done, we just kept on moving. We just kept going and we have not stopped since. It was crazy, but I enjoyed it. Again, my family, we were not stupid poor, there were definitely people that had it worse than we did when we were kids. Like Leroy, and Dancey and I, my two siblings who are in the show. We were fine, but looking back, we were not high class. We weren’t at the top, we didn’t have that much. Anyways, I have had points in my life, where I can look back and give myself perspective, so it is easy for me to push through stuff. Like filming a Netflix show was nothing. I have worked a graveyard shift at a feed-lot before. It’s 3am in the morning, you are 15 years old, processing cattle in a feed-lot. Thats sucks. Filming a Netflix show, talk about First World problems, go cry to someone else.

Q - You have a team of people around you that are the real deal. How are they handling their new celebrity status?

A - Yes, they all really work for me. There are some parts on the show that are obviously just for fun. Like the very first opening scene. There are like 5 different camera angles, we are trotting thru the pasture where we take a call from my Mom. Like that, that was obviously for fun, it was scripted. But, the rest of it is real. Donnie is getting on real broncs. Those are real buck-offs. Leroy actually works for me. We go to actual Rodeos. That explosion, we had no idea it was going to be that big! Otherwise it would have been on camera. If you watch the camera angles, it blows out of the camera angle. We were not even set up for it. Carl Wayne getting out, Cheech breaking his finger, it was a real filming, That’s our life. There are some subtleties in our content on Netflix where there are mysterious things that we say, do and act. To be honest they are not really that mysterious, but at the end of the day, this is who we are. This what we do every day. I think that is what people can see in our work and filming. The way we commentate it is humorous and thru comedy

A - No, not at all. Cheech is a sales rep, so he is contract labor. He is outside sales and he does not live here, but he spends a lot of time here. We work together and he brings in outside sales and I pay him money for that job. Leroy, he films for me, 3 videos a week. So, he is contract labor also. I write him a check every week. The others are actually employees and they get a salary. Like Donnie and Jordan. What we do is a real thing. All of these people are people I am invested with. Cheech, he hangs around. He lives, eats and sleeps in his trailer. Those are real scenarios. Like, how we met that intern, that’s how we meet all of them. They roll up, cameras rolling, we put them on a bull. It is irresponsible, but we have a good time.

Q - The characters on “How to be A Cowboy” were so strong, almost seem like they were chosen just for the show?

Q - What are your plans for the NFR this year?

A - I have 3 booths this year at the NFR. One is at Cowboy Christmas, one at Mandalay Bay and also a third at South Point. I am doing the pre-show at the NFR at the Thomas & Mack Arena, right outside in the Fan Zone with the PRCA and then the after party at the Mirage - I will be doing both every day at this years NFR in Las Vegas. I will be at Cowboy Christmas for 7 or 8 of the 10 day event as well. Every morning I will be doing Pod-Casts as well in my room with some of the contestants.

Q - Dale, you have been doing a lot of work lately with J.B Mauney the “2nd Most Famous Bull Rider” ever, can you tell us what you have been up to?

A - There ya go - J.B. and I are just good friends. We have been friends for 6 years now. We have a lot in common. Now we have some Rodeo cows together, we have JBDB Bucking Bulls, which is a real thing. I have some of his bulls here and he has some of my bulls there. J.B is a bull man, so he actually has a lot of little partnerships. He will partner here and there with some of his buddies and he has several bulls of his own. He is just a bull guy, he has pens at his house in Stephenville and he is always going to have stock around. I think I am the only one that he has Rodeo cows with, and we actually raise them. He does a lot of trading. He will buy a 3 year old and sell him two months later. I don’t care for production, I do not want to actually put on Rodeos, I don’t want to raise stock, except for when J.B. called me. I thought man, if I am ever going to partner with somebody on anything Rodeo production wise, it is going to be J.B. Mauney because he knows what he is doing!

Q - You and JB are doing a lot of fun stuff together right now online with content too, tell us about it!

A - Right now that is the most all-around positive stuff that we do together. He asked me a couple of years ago to take over his merch. When I do a YouTube video, every quarter I will look back, and if he is in the YouTube video, we split the revenue 50/50 right down the middle. Like if his name is in it, his face is in it, etc. So, that is something we are doing and the merch. I handle the merch for him too.

Q - The Merchandise that you sell is very creative with the fabric designs and the slogans so innovative - how do you come up with all of the designs?

A - Some of them I come up with on my own, and some are from the 3 independent graphic designers I work with. I will reach out to them about once a year and then we have an in-house girl that does a really good job. Essentially we work with about 5 different people and when we rotate thru like that, it keeps everything fresh. Some designers will get kinda pigeon-holed into using one specific font more than others to often. We have a couple that we like to lean on so we can change it up. But, essentially it all revolves around the content that we put out. That’s where these shirts are sold. Long before the words are on a T-Shirt. Ya know like, “Your Moms Favorite Bull Rider,” “Ole Son,” “Rodeo Time,” and “Ridin’ Bulls - Punchin’ Fools”. They all mean something to people before they even see them on a shirt. That

Q - How long have you been working with J.B.?

A - Six years ago we met at the Iron Cowboy at the AT&T Stadium. We were back behind the chutes hanging out and kinda bull crappin,’ and got each others SnapChats, and then were just sending each other funny SnapChats. That is really all it was. Then one day PBR called and they had just come out with Ride Pass and they wanted us to do a show called “Keeping’ it 90” which was one of my slogans at the time. We did 6 episodes together and he does not like doing stuff like that, but at the time he was willing to do it because I was involved. He knew we would have a good time. We share a good friend in common, Randy Quartieri and he was there, so it was fun time to get to film it. That was our first big project together. It has been all downhill since then, and we just kind of now done more and more stuff together.

Q - You and J.B. have a lot of chemistry when working together is it real?

A - I am going to give credit for that to J. B., he is a real dude. He is what you see is what you get. He treats everybody the same, he doesn’t show favoritism. It doesn’t matter if its Brad Pitt, Donald Trump, Trevor Brazile or some 14 year old steer rider comes in, he is going to treat them the exact same. That’s just J.B., it always has been. That is the kind of respect he expects in return and I give him that respect and that is why I think we have always gotten along really well. When you get into the culture, the Rodeo culture, you will find some people similar to J.B. Like Tuff Hedeman is one and Jim Sharp. Those guys are all actually really good friends and they get along really well. That is part of the reason why, they are very similar in that they are all “No Bull Crap”. Its like this who they are. Tuff, he is going to treat everybody the same. You will find that in the guys that are “Old School”. That is what they call J.B. he is Old School. He is the way he chooses to live. Its like they plucked one of the early 90’s Bull Riders out and threw him into the next generation.

Q - The VICE show about J.B., did it open the door for Cowboy in the mainstream to be cool again? The Yellowstone TV show, a Netflix TV Show, Dale Brisby?

A - The VICE show came out in 2018, and I am not sure that that show could be responsible for all of that. But, it was a big deal, and there were many things that came from it. Like on that show J.B. showed everyone how he would stand on a medicine ball to work out. It was pretty much one of the only workouts he would do besides getting on practice bulls, he would stand on a medicine ball. Now a lot of kids stand on a medicine ball because of that video. But, the brand that J.B. has, he has been building for 15 years. Yes, it is something that Social Media and TV have helped grow that, because of the PBR is being televised and the YouTube videos, plus a little bit of Dale Brisby, but it is all because of what J.B. has done and built. He is a huge inspiration to young kids that want to be stand out Bull Riders. I think this is something that has been coming thru the last few years and with the advent of social media and what not, essentially all of these people that didn’t realize that we existed, now have a microscope into our world of being a Cowboy. They are starting to see, “Oh snap, J.B. Mauney is a big deal,” “Dale Brisby is a big deal,” Trevor Brazile is a “big deal”. Yes, I put my name in between those two! But, the point is, the Internet as a whole, is a new way for the Cowboy to come thru to the World, but J.B., he is just been himself for so long, he has built that brand.

Q - Over the last 6 years, the interest and respect for the Cowboy lifestyle has blossomed-

A - That is where the idea for the show came from. The production company was like, “Hey, what are we going to make a show about?”, we know that you have all of this content, and you’ve got the YouTube show Rodeo Time, but we need this show to be different. I said, we literally get 50 messages A DAY, from people who say, “How do I get started Ranching?” — “How do I get started Rodeoing?” - “How do I get started Riding Bulls?”. I had made videos on the subjects, “This is how you get started Ranchin,” “Five ways to get started Ranchin,” “Three things NOT to do when you get started Ranchin” I had made those videos. So I said, what we need to do, is have a show and then we bring on guests to each episode. I said, like Trevor Brazile, like Craig Cameron, like J.B. Mauney. I wanted to call it “You Ain’t No Cowboy,” but they decided to call it “How to be A Cowboy”. It worked out. We brought on J.B., we brough on Trevor and Craig and we added some humor to it. The plot of the show came from mainstreams interest in this industry. That is why I have had the success that I have had, because I am one of the few people in this industry that puts out consistent content.

There are a lot of people that put stuff out occasionally. Fallon Taylor is really good, she puts stuff out all the time. But, there are not a lot of people that are on a horse talking about “This is how you get started,” or just putting out consistent content. The World is hungry for it, and Netflix was too! Right now, all of these networks are looking for a hit cowboy show. Netflix was not the only one interested in taking on this show. The point is, there is a wave. I see the future, and if we can manage our side of it correctly - the future of this industry is bright!

Q - Agreed, there is a wave of popularity right now-

A - Yes, like Yellowstone. Yellowstone is similar to How to be a Cowboy in that, they are both depictions of the Cowboy lifestyle and they both have a storyline that offered entertainment as you learned about it. Those are the two big similarities that we both have. We do it in a form of comedy in an unscripted platform, and they are doing it obviously scripted with more drama, but they are both bringing entertainment (How to be A Cowboy on a smaller scale than Yellowstone). But we are all trying to make a positive impact, as positive splash for the industry. We are the ambassadors for the industry.

The last thing I have to say is check out “How to be A Cowboy” on Netflix, and check out DaleBrisby.com for all the merch. for J.B. Mauney and myself.