Royce Teague IV is a sheep-riding Ironman enthusiast
By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Tough as nails is an apt phrase to describe six-year-old Royce Teague IV, mutton buster.
Roycie, as he is called by his family, first rode when he was three years old. It was on his second ride some time later that a sheep stepped on his face.
“He looked at me and said that he didn’t feel any pain — he was Ironman,” said Roycie’s dad, Royce III. “It wasn’t until I was brushing his teeth that night and he told me to be careful that we could tell how bad it was.”
The sheep’s hoof had cut a gash along Roycie’s gums, and shoved in his two front teeth.
So, Roycie received a new helmet — a full-face goalie helmet — to use when he rode sheep.
For those unfamiliar with the Mutton Bustin’ event, kids aged six and under and 60 pounds or lighter are eligible to compete. Each contestant is judged for the skill shown as he or she attempts to stay on the sheep for the required six seconds.
Kids are outfitted with protective head gear and receive assistance from event organizers as well as the one parent who is allowed to be with them.
It was grandma Judy Teague’s idea to get Roycie a full protective vest since he was going to ride sheep more often. It is red and has the lit-up Ironman emblem smack dab in the middle of the chest. Dad Royce painted the helmet red to match.
In addition to these protective items, Roycie wears boots, spurs and sparkly red chaps.
His belt buckle features a boy riding a sheep — a prize he won at this year’s World’s Toughest Rodeo at the Xcel Energy Center. He’s won that event two times, part of the Professional Bull Riding (PBR) circuit, and has been invited to participate in the World Championship Mutton Bustin’ competition in Las Vegas in October.
His father, Royce, grew up on a horse ranch and always appreciated a good rodeo, but was too busy wrestling to rodeo. He has a few techniques to share with his son, though.
“He’s learned to tuck in his head and ball up if he falls,” said Royce.
Rodeo announcer Wade Grinager said, “We call him the future of the PBR — he rides with his PBR helmet on. I first met him last year, and he goes to about every rodeo he can enter. It doesn’t matter if he wins it or not, he’s got the same motivational attitude every time.”
Roycie has ridden in at least a dozen rodeos a year for the past couple years.
“When he falls he gets right up and gives his dad a high five,” said Grinager. “He’s a ball of joy to have. Some people think of the rodeo as a family fun time, but he takes it to the next level, which is why he was invited to Las Vegas. He’s Royce ‘The Ironman’ Teague.”
Roycie’s little sister, Bree, rode her first sheep in Little Falls’ Man vs. Beast rodeo September 15.
“She’s been wanting to do it ever since she first saw her brother ride,” said mom, Jessica. “She got up, smiled and gave me a high five.”
The Teague family would rather spend time at a rodeo than watching television. “We have a TV, but no satellite,” said Royce. “We have tons of books to read.”
There are no video games at the Teague household either. But they trap all over central Minnesota and enjoy bow hunting.
“Roycie’s an adventurer, which is kind of dangerous when we’re out on a trap line and he runs right up to dispatch a fox just like he sees dad do,” said Royce.
Roycie is a Star Wars fanatic who loves riding his PW dirt bike. Motocross competitions may be part of his future too.
“If he does continue to ride in rodeos, he could participate at the high school level, or attend college on a rodeo scholarship,” said Royce.