Eugene Buchanan: Mini bareback riding comes to Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Eugene Buchanan: Mini bareback riding comes to Steamboat

Hayden's Keenan Hayes riding in last year's inaugural Mini Bareback Riding event for youth at the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series. The event returns to Romick Arena this year the weekends of July 25 and 26 and July 31 and Aug. 1.
KeenanHayes

— Honey, I shrunk the horse!

No, that’s not the newest movie coming out of Hollywood. It’s the latest rodeo event to hit the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series.

Debuting at the Steamboat rodeo last year, 2015 marks the second time the mini bareback riding event, fully endorsed by the PCRA, will take place at Romick Arena, with the contests slated for July 25 and 26 and July 31 and Aug. 1, as young riders prepare for a berth in the National Finals in Las Vegas.



The event features two categories, a youth division for riders 9 and younger and an older division for riders 10 to 13. Just like the bigger bareback riders, they’re required to mark-out, spur and hang on for six seconds, with both horse and rider judged on a scale of one to 25.

“Everything’s the same,” says Hayden’s Donnie Hayes, whose Rocky Mountain Mini Broncs down valley provides many of the horses for the competition. “It’s just like the big guys, just littler horses and littler kids. Last year, it went over really well, and this year should be even better.”



Some of these diminutive horses are raised locally by Kaitlynn and Keenan Hayes, and others come from Texas. While the average PRCA bareback horse weighs around 1,100 pounds, the miniature horses weigh between 350 pounds for the younger riders and 750 pounds for the older kids. And in that small package comes a whole lot of buck.

At last year’s debut, regular PRCA riders like AJ Colletti and Christopher Thomas quickly embraced the younger generation of cowboy.

“They sort of adopted the kids and coached them before they rode,” Hayes says. “They welcomed them with open arms.”

It might as well be because the older riders recognized the commitment and talent of their smaller spin-offs, who have been riding a long time, starting with the mutton bustin’ events at the Routt County Fair. The kids also train on mechanical bulls and bucking dummies, all as part of what Hayes calls the “Buck-’em to Vegas Tour.”

Coached by such local cowboys as Wayne Wagner, Rick Upton and Hayes, local riders to keep your eye on this year include J.D. Case in the younger division and Ezra Wagner, Kody Ingols, Keenan Hayes and Kollin Decker in the older division — all of whom are working toward qualifying for Nationals.

As for the horses, favorite buckers include a small quarter horse named Snip and a Welsh Pony named Barbie for the older riders, and 380-pound Shetland pony FizzBomb for the youngsters.

“He’s pure dynamite,” says Hayes. “A great bucker.”

No matter the size, with topnotch horses and riders, it’s another great addition to the Steamboat rodeo.

“It’s a great crowd pleaser,” says Hayes, adding that 12 kids will compete each night. “It’s completely different than what you’d expect. They’re all fantastic riders.”


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.
 

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


Explore Steamboat


See more