"When I was riding bulls, there was this feeling of danger and it was scary," Ty recalls. "I had to get control of my brain, bear down and give it everything I had. There aren't a lot of competitive things I can take up at 37 that have that element involved."
Ty's only flirtation with competition in the past five years was his involvement with the summer 2007 television program Fast Cars & Superstars, during which a dozen celebrities learned to drive NASCAR stock cars at a speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina. As Ty watched his girlfriend, pop singer Jewel, hit the wall at 160 miles an hour, he discovered an opportunity to again face a little danger.
"I told [NASCAR driver] Kasey Kahne that I wouldn't be letting off the gas," Ty says. "We're going left as fast we can and if we hit the wall, so be it. Maybe you have to have been a professional athlete in a dangerous sport to understand.
"I talked with [former NFL quarterback] John Elway about it, and he agreed. It's a hard thing to explain, but I watched some of those guys' 'fraidy straps' break when Jewel hit the wall."
Ty admits it was the first time he'd felt the competitive juices flowing since he retired, so it seems odd when just moments later he says, "I'm not a daredevil."
"I've done some dangerous stuff," he admits, "and I guess people see me that way because I've competed under dangerous, scary circumstances."
Regardless of how good it felt to compete on a stock-car track, Ty says he's happy to have walked away from rodeo when he did.
"It's not like I'm dying for that or starving for it," he says. "I watched some of those guys chicken out, but I wasn't going to do that. That's how I approached my whole rodeo career."