A conversation with Ray Thurston, sixth-generation Grand County native
February 12, 2008
Ray Thurston was born and raised in Grand County.
In fact, he is a sixth-generation ‘Grand County-an.” His father, Ron, was born and raised in Tabernash and lives with his wife Sue in Granby. Ray also lives in Granby and runs an electrical contracting company with his father. He was recommended for a “Conversations With” profile because of his longtime residency in Grand County, his unique lifestyle and his dedication to the community. Ray is a bull-rider and volunteer firefighter.
1. What is your earliest childhood memory?
The first time I rode a calf at the Flying Heels Rodeo arena. That was probably … ooh man …I was probably 7.
2. Did you hold on long enough to win?
Yeah. (Laughs) I stayed on long enough.
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3. What do you love most about Grand County?
The snow. I love skiing and snowmobiling.
4. What type of ranching background do you have?
I grew up on a 20-acre hobby farm. It’s not a full ranch. Just a few horses, a few cows, a few pigs.
5. How long have you been a volunteer firefighter?
I’ve been with the Granby Fire Department going on four years.
6. Why do you continue to volunteer?
I guess it’s the excitement of fighting fires. Everybody always talks about it at the end of the day, don’t you think? And I like giving back to the community.
7. Tell me about your bull riding background.
I ride bulls in the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association) and the PBR (Professional Bull-riding Association).
8. Why on earth do you ride bulls?
I like the adrenaline rush, I guess. It’s a good way to make some extra money.
9. What’s your best time?
My highest score ever is 88.
10. Have you won any awards?
I’ve won a whole shelf-load of belt buckles.
11. Have you ever been injured?
Yeah, I’ve broken my leg twice, and a few broken ribs. But nothing too major, I guess. I didn’t have to spend a night in the hospital or anything, so I guess that’s pretty good.
12. When you’re riding a bull, what are you thinking?
You’re always thinking. You have to react as fast as possible to whatever the bull is doing. If you’re able to react in the amount of time to make the correct moves, you’re going to ride it with success and win some money.
13. Ever think of moving out of Grand County?
No, I left for a few years to go to college and came right back. No, I’m pretty much settled down here, I think. I don’t plan on leaving.