Electricity Powers Oklahoma Junior Bull Riding Champion
"My calf was good in the chutes, he blew out and I never saw him, he went left and I went with it and just kept hustling and spurring, I could hear the crowd into it and it was fun," said the fifteen year old junior high student from Broken Bow, Oklahoma.
This fifteen year old rider has been competing for ten years, won over 150 trophy buckles, 6 saddles and has a college fund that just got a $1,000 bump from four time World Champion bull rider, Tuff Hedeman, who taps the champions from the top youth bull riding organizations when issuing the special invitations to compete.
"I knew spectators would really enjoy the youth bull riders," said Hedeman. "They are this country's future to carry on the cowboy tradition, they're excellent athletes who have earned the privilege of riding here. All kids can look up to them. It's a great experience for the other kids too."
"Roland Mizrahi personally sponsored me as a bull rider, prior to the first Tuff Hedeman Championship Challenge and stepped ip and sponsored the Cripple Creek Junior Steer Riding for each of the twenty-five years we have had the event. I am happy to call Roland my friend and admire his commitment to help bring these young steer riders to our event, in addition he produces 50 custom vests or jackets yearly for the event," said Hedeman.
Trevyn Armstrong and his five fellow competitors each left the arena with a custom Cripple Creek vest, a new Resistol cowboy hat, and a Roughstock shirt from Panhandle Slim, and a pair of Cinch Jeans. As the event winner Trevyn was presented with the Champion's custom engraved Juan Munoz trophy buckle and a pair of premium Lucchese boots and a check. The total purse for the Cripple Creek Junior Championship Challenge was $2,000 with each rider receiving a check at the end of the competition.
On Saturday night at the Stockyards Coliseum in Fort Worth, Trevyn had what rough stock riders refer to as a lucky draw, it was the same calf he won the Texas Youth Bull Riders State Finals short round on, but Armstrong said he feeds on the "electricity" in the building of Tuff Hedeman's premier original stop.
"The crowd really pumps me up, I look up to guys like Sage Kimzey, I think I'm like him, I love it too when you look at the crowd and hear them hollering and you holler back," said Armstrong referring to the five time World Champion bull rider, Sage Kimzey, who was on the back of the chutes to see Trevyn win.
In case you are not sure, Trevyn Armstrong wants and is planning to be a professional bull rider. He has attended bull riding schools produced by industry greats Gary Leffew and Terry Don West. But Saturday night's lesson came from the event champion himself, Joe Frost.
As Frost sat down next to the junior champion Armstrong did not waste any time getting advice from the three time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Randlett, Utah who was happy to share his theories on riding bulls away from your hand.
"How do you ride them when they jump forward and away from your hand," asked Armstrong wasting no time in recognizing the cowboy he had seen on television many times.
"I have a problem with that too sometimes, but if you ride the front of the bull and when his front feet hit the ground then you square up, it's the Denny Flynn method, a bull has three jumps for every revolution, when you believe it you can do it," said Frost who had just won the silver edition of the Tuff Hedeman Championship Bull Riding in Fort Worth.
How does a youngster retain all this information, "It is muscle memory, you can't think, if you think you'll get thrown off, you have to react to what the bull's doing like if you feel him going backwards you bow your chest out," continued the student from Wright City Junior High School.
Gathered up with the professionals on the back of the chutes, these six young cowboys bowed their heads during the prayer, crossed their hearts at the anthem, and mimicked the moves they would make riding animals nearly ten times their weight and they all agree riding bucking steers in front of a packed house of both fans and peers, they all agreed "it's pretty cool".
While the chance to ride does have its rewards, it is not without its challenges and consequences.
Texas Youth Bull Riders Inc. requires rodeo athletes to wear a mouthpiece, vest and helmet with a faceguard, making them look almost like hockey players in spurs and Western wear.
The sport of bull riding is not without price tags, including entry fees, travel, and unfortunately doctor's bills occasionally. Money and college goals are part of the allure of bull riding for these children and their parents.
Through 8 seconds of rough stock competition, a financial and educational future can be paved with rodeo scholarships and a college fund.
Cripple Creek Junior Challenge Results
1. Trevyn Armstrong, 92 points on 13 SP (Spain)
2. Kalden Loud 86 points on 45 Sand Box (Loud)
3. Hayden Young 85.5 on 19 Ditch Pig (Young)
Hudson Williams, Jadon Hayes, Kaleb Lewis, no score
Courtesy of CBRBull.com