Hearing the horses hooves running across the practice pen, Angel Garcia Nunez listened to and paid attention to his horse Trooper.

Hes legally blind and is a bronc rider who competes in rodeos.

Ive had a lot of people tell me you cant see, you cant do this. Nah! I can do it! he exclaimed enthusiastically.

Hes 26 years old and a lot of people call him the Blind Bandit. He can often be seen on the East Side of Tucson training at Heart of the Horse, a place that focuses on equine therapy.

Riding the saddle horses, just getting that motion, feeling like the movements of the horse and just being able to adapt to it, Garcia Nunez said about training.

Hes already adapting to being in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

He has his sights set on competing in the Tucson Rodeo but he needs a permit and a thousand dollars in earnings to buy his pro card.

Catching the horse, putting the halter on, thatd probably be the hardest, because they tend to walk away if they dont want to come out, he said.

He said it can also be hard being legally blind, something that he wasnt born with. He shot himself back in 2019 after losing his best friend Tone.

If you ever needed anything and he was able to help you, he would be right there for you, he said about Tone.

When he trains and competes in rodeos, he takes Tones memory into gaining experience. Hes already been in 10 rodeos, some even out of state, and is waiting for the day he makes it to the Tucson Rodeo.

Hes already gone to clinics with competitors and even goes to the Tucson Rodeo every year, spectating in the stands.

I hear my buddies getting announced by Will Rasmussen and Im like all right, were going to be there next year, he said.

In the meantime, hes already training his mentee Logan Lingdren, who is also learning to ride bronc horses.

When getting over something as being blind and then still wanting to bronc ride, it made me realize I can do that, Lindgren said.

Garcia Nunez said no one is stopping him when it comes to competing, and said people in his shoes, or boots in this case, shouldnt be discouraged.

You know what you can do physically and mentally, nothing should stop you. Dont listen to no one, he advised.

Garcia Nunez is hoping one day hell open up a business for people who want to use horse riding as a form of therapy.

He said this year is the last time hell be watching from the stands, because he cant wait for the day he hears his name announced at the rodeo. Meanwhile, he has his best friend Tone in mind.

I kind of just try and carry on that legacy that he hadcare for others, mean what you say, say what you mean, he said.