Don got his got a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association card when he was 21.
In high school, Don once pole-vaulted 14 feet, however, he snapped two poles in the process.
Don was an accomplished Pop Warner football player.
Don was an all-star Little Leaguer.
Don Yates has broken both wrists, multiple fingers, multiple ribs, and his right leg. He has also busted teeth and had a two-inch gash in his head. These injuries all occurred when bull-fighting.
Don Yates was a full-metal wrestler that competed at Ohio Valley Wrestling.
Don's performance skills include: martial arts, comedian, dancing, improvisation, singing, stunts, host, and voiceover.
Don can do southern and Australian accents.
Don's athletic skills include: soccer, aerobics, boxing, track & field, surfing, football, rollerblading, baseball, gymnastics, swimming, cycling, basketball, tennis, martial arts, and golf.
Don's dancing skills include: Pop Locking, Hip Hop, Line, Tango, Break, and Club/Freestyle.
Don is a baritone.
Don married Shari in 1999.
Don has blue eyes.
Don is 6 foot 4 inches tall.
Don: In bull-riding, you're not guaranteed to see any major wrecks. If the riders are good and the bulls are good, it all goes off without incident. But in a bull-fight, you're almost guaranteed to see someone get hit or run over. We're not getting away from the bull; we're having to go to it and stay as close as we can.
Don: (talking about bull-fighting) For the hours we work, we make great money. For the danger we put ourselves in, we make horrible money. I work about 100 performances a year at two hours a performance. It's good money for 200 hours of work a year.
Don Yates: Everything in your body is telling you to run away from the bull. But in this job, you've got to tell yourself 'No.' You've got to make yourself run toward the bull.
Don Yates: (talking about his bull-fighting) They drew a line in the dirt and said 'Stand here.' Then they drew another line in the dirt about a foot in front of the first line and said, 'When the bull crosses this line, try to spin away from him.'
Don Yates: (talking about the first time he went for a bull-riding session) They wanted me to ride. I told them I'd be willing to run around and distract the bull to protect them.
Don: I quit sports in high school to be a bull-fighter. I didn't have to work at most sports so they didn't keep my interest. I wasn't good at rodeo; I had to work at it. That's what kept my interest. I'm still looking at ways I can get better.
Don: (talking about bull-fighting) It's all about how close you stay to the bull. If the bull's got you cornered, you get more points if you escape narrowly along the fence than if you run to the open middle of the arena. It's how dangerous you can be and still be able to get yourself out of it.
Don: (talking about his bull-fighting) It's like a 70-second game of tag between me and a bull. The more danger you put yourself in, the more points you get. Daring moves earn a lot of points, like if you jump over the bull, step through him or do a 180-degree spin move with your back to the bull.
Don: I'm more from the Harley Davidson and rock'n'roll crowd. A lot of people think a rodeo is a bunch of cowboys yelling 'yee-haw.' But I don't think you'll find a sport that's more rock'n'roll than rodeo.
Don: (talking about his bull-fighting) I'm not a buffoon out there. I'm an athlete and I my take job seriously.
Don: A lot of guys consider themselves just bull-fighters. I still do some clown acts and entertain crowds. I'm a rodeo clown and bull-fighter. I don't mind it. That's how the sport of bull-fighting came about.
Don: (talking about his bull-fighting) I've seen broken necks and broken backs, and I've had a couple of friends die from doing this. So, if you ask me if I've been seriously injured, I'd have to say no.
Don: They didn't keep me from going. I've had knee surgeries where I've been out three or four weeks, but I've never missed a performance because of injuries.
Don: (talking about his character on American Gladiators) Wolf will hunt his prey, thriving on the smell of fear.
Don: Any time I get to hit somebody so hard that when they come back for the next event, they're already remembering what I did to them the last time, that's fun.
Don: My wife has always called me wolf, or not called me Wolf but she's always said, "You look like a wolf." I had a wolf hybrid. It was a Huskie or Malamute Wolf mix and she always said that we looked alike. Then when I get in here into the arena or any kind of event where I'm going against somebody, a switch just goes off. I attack and I sink my teeth into the competition and I do just try to rip them limb from limb.
Don: (talking about the events on American Gladiator) I don't think I really have a least favorite event. I love every event. The rings tend to be one of my better events and I like it because everything else is so fast and hard. You don't get time to really mess with people's minds. On the Hang Tough, I get to talk a little bit before. Then as I'm coming at them on the rings, I can talk a little bit. I can stalk them. And then once I get a hold of them, I don't have to take them down real quick. I can sit there and taunt them and toy with them and play with my food before I sink my teeth into them. So it's a mental game for me.
Don: And my background, I grew up playing every sport known to man, was on my all star team and everything. Then started fighting bulls actually when I was in high school, became a rodeo clown/bull fighter. That's how I've made my living for the last 23 years. It's kind of baptism by fire. I've been fighting men, fighting animals my entire life. That's built me to be a gladiator. I've had over 130 broken bones, three knee surgeries. Last year was gored by a bull and almost killed. I came back bigger, better, faster stronger just like the American Gladiators. It's the new Gladiators. It's a new American Gladiators. It's bigger, better, faster and stronger.
Don: All the guys have played a lot of different sports. Most of the girls have but they haven't done a lot of the more physical stuff that we've done, so I've tried to take it in to analyze my background with rodeo and my injuries and also with professional wrestling. You learn how to protect yourself so I try to help them learn how to protect themselves while going 100% and going full out, but keep themselves safe so that they can not only make it through that event, but make it through the season, through the next season.
Don: (speaking of the female gladiators) I tend to take care of the girls.
Don: The other day, they didn't have Gina and I do an interview together because they said that we were the two in house badasses. I don't think any of us ever give anybody else a hard time about their performance because one, we all excel at everything. Everybody goes out, they do their jobs. Sometimes a contender will get by but most of the time they don't. So we don't really give each other a hard time. We all critique each other. We might say, "Hey, you almost had that guy. Next time try to do this." We're always watching each other's backs.