Youth bull events get young riders started

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The Quemado Community Equestrian Association held its second youth bull riding of the year Aug. 10, in conjunction with the semi-annual all-school reunion held in Quemado. This is the first reunion that has included the youth bull riding event.

Susann Mikkelson/El Defensor Chieftain: The rodeo clowns prepare as a young rider comes out of the chute for the youth bull riding in Quemado. The Quemado Community Equestrian Association held its second youth bull riding of the year on Aug. 10, in conjunction with Quemado High School’s all-school reunion.

This bull riding saw about half the contestants of the spring event, which had a record 56 entries. The summer bull riding had 26 entries and was still a good opportunity for young riders to hone their talent for the future.

“This is a great opportunity for young riders,” Ricky Chavez, one of the event’s organizers, said. “This event is about getting these kids out there and gaining experience. We think it was a successful day.”

The young riders had lots of support, as the parking area was packed with reunion-goers who had come from all around for the Quemado School’s all-school reunion the same weekend.

Junior rider Justin Houston took away the grand prize winnings and buckle with a 75-point ride. Other buckle winners included Kooper Heimburg in calf riding, Landyn Wimsatt in mini-bull riding, and Casper Leyba of Quemado in senior bull riding.

The QCEA is a nonprofit organization started to provide youth rodeo and equestrian sporting activities for area youth. The organization was granted funding from the state of New Mexico in 2009 to purchase the arena in Quemado, upgrade it, and host youth rodeo and equestrian events.

“We look forward to next year and continuing to offer more activities to our youth and the community,” said Chavez.

While state funding covered the initial costs for purchase and refurbishing the facility, members of this all-volunteer board continue the work to organize the events, and raise funds for the awards and other costs. Sponsors contributed funds for purchase of the the belt buckles, as well as helped cover other costs. Any additional funds raised go to further improvements to the facilities, and to adding new events.