By Lindsay Leyden, Rodeo Austin
AUSTIN, Texas -- Rodeo Austin is five nights into the Ride for the Brand Cowboy Tournament, featuring top rodeo athletes from all over the nation.
Three-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier Trey Benton III was among the competitors in Wednesday night's event. Like most sports, a lot of time and hard work is required to find success in the rodeo arena. For Benton, preparation for his professional bull riding career started at the age of 7.
I've been riding calves since I was seven, and kind of just worked my way up," Benton said. "I rode steers from the ages of 10 to 12, then junior bulls, high school and it was just a process from there. Kind of like t-ball or anything else; just a little on the western side of things.
While rodeo shares a few common factors with other sports around the world, most rodeo athletes will agree there is something about this industry that holds a little bit of uniqueness and keeps true to the western way of life.
"Everybody knows everybody, and you're not really competing against each other," Benton said. I mean you are, but you're competing against the animal you work with and that is what makes it different than any other sport."
For Benton the core of the competition lies within himself. As physically demanding as bull riding is, being able to see what he is capable of proves to be one of the most rewarding parts in Benton's career choice.
"The money is good, but probably the prestige of the sport. Not everyone can be a bull rider," Benton said. "To be the best; that means a lot. Just proving to yourself that you can do it."