- Written by Sarah Sayles
- Published on July 01, 2011
The plan was never to be a movie star. The plan didn’t include being a Calvin Klein model or an Emmy-nominated actor.
In fact, Brad Johnson expected to be a rodeo star and he was well on his way to becoming that--having won PRCA Wrangler Rookie of the Year in 1985--when he was discovered wrestling steers at the National Finals Rodeo.
Johnson grew up on a ranch near Tucson, AZ. His dad, Grover, was a horse trainer, and he taught his children to make the most of everything they were given.
Johnson himself is a jack of all trades--a PRCA cowboy who continued to rodeo for years after he got his break in Hollywood. After filming the TV show “Soldier of Fortune”, he had an epiphany.
“All the gear was black, high tech, special ops stuff,” he says. After shooting this kind of equipment on a hunt, he told a friend he was giving up hunting because “our tech is getting better and theirs isn’t.”
Instead, he started refurbishing 1886 Winchesters and even took two years off from his movie career to become a master gunsmith. Today he also owns part interest in Sagecreek Ranch, a guided hunt operation, and says guiding hunts on Ted Turner’s ranch in New Mexico is one of his “guilty pleasures.”
Still a competitor, Johnson has recently started showing cutting horses.
“I really thought I was a pretty good hand until I started riding cutting horses,” he says. “It’s like riding a thousand pound border collie.” Since 2009, he has been involved with the Careity Foundation’s Celebrity Cutting. This year he rode Cats Royal Jewel, a high-money-earning cutting horse owned by Robert Rust. Johnson says combining horses with supporting the charity just makes sense.
“Every good thing that’s happened to me in my life has been because of a horse.”