GOODING, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) When you picture bull riders you probably picture the professionals that ride in the PBR Championships.
But Friday at the Gooding Fair Grounds where kids were “cowboying” up.
All of the day’s competitors were under the age of 14 with courage larger than most adults.
"We are teaching these guys to be professional bull riders," Chief Executive Officer of Rough Stock 101 Donnie Landis said.
Riders were hopping on the backs of mature bulls that are typically a quarter to half the size of the professional PBR ones.
"We systematically draw the bulls to these kids. If we have got a kid that hasn't rode that many bulls then we'll draw him on something that we feel fits him. We'll take all of the kids that are of that caliber and we'll draw them to that caliber bulls. We'll take the little bigger, tougher kids and draw them into the tougher pen," Donnie Landis said.
Safety is a top priority with multiple rodeo clowns in the ring to assist if needed.
The Gooding Pro Rodeo performs in front of sold-out crowds each year. So hosting the Youth Rodeo at the Gooding Fair Grounds was the best venue. But what’s the draw to get young kids involved?
"It’s just fun! Just to prove that you're a cowboy and that you can ride bulls,” Wyatt and Wesley Pearsons said.
Like the phrase grab the bull by the horns for two young cowboys this was true because the competition was a family affair.
"Sometimes it's kind of hard because we will get mad at each other if we don't ride,” Wyatt said.
“But then when we both score we are proud of each other,” Wesley said.
Both started competing in rodeos at the age of six. Wesley is 13 and Wyatt is 11 but don't expect either to take it easy on the other. They do help each other practice in preparation.
"We have a barrel at our house that's tied up against the barn and we swing each other on it,” Wyatt said.
“Just anything we can,” Wesley said.
The youth rodeo is back in the Magic Valley since it was started twenty years ago and they unveiled a new rodeo element the wild ride. This was a ride scored half on costume originality then the other half on the performance.
Donnie Landis is determined to bring youth rodeo back to the Magic Valley so look for this event again next year.