Rodeo: A way of life for Little Falls youths

 

There’s just something about getting ready for the run. The anticipation is high and it’s like every muscle in the horse is on high alert.

“Barrel racing is a rush,” said Myla Baum, 13, of Little Falls.

Myla has competed in barrel racing since she was 6 years old. It is something she anticipates she will continue doing throughout her life.

She also competes in pole bending. The main horse that she uses for barrel racing and pole bending is a registered American Paint named Trigger.

 Training and competing in barrel racing is a rush for Myla Baum and her horse, Trigger.
Training and competing in barrel racing is a rush for Myla Baum and her horse, Trigger.

“It’s a lot of fun. I like feeling his body shift in between the poles. He’s really fast,” she said of Trigger.

Myla is involved in goat tying, as well. It is an event that requires the rider to ride at high speed to a goat that is located at the other side of the arena. The rider then jumps of the horse once he or she is near the goat.

“With the string in your mouth, you have to flip the goat, tie its legs and pull up your arms for the time clock to stop,” Myla said.

The best part about goat tying, Myla believes is the thrill of riding at high speed and jumping off her horse.

For the goat tying event, she mainly uses her American quarter horse, Rio.

“He’s very flexible, so I’m hoping to get him trained in roping,” she said.

Last summer, Myla got a new American quarter horse named Lena. Even though Lena is only 2 years old, Myla already has big plans for her. She’ll be used as a cutting horse.

When Myla competes in goat tying, the goats are provided to the riders. But when she trains, she uses her own live goat named Dummy. It was simply cheaper to buy a real goat compared to buying a “dummy.”

The best part of the rodeo life besides the thrills and high speeds are the friendships she makes, Myla said.

“You met a lot of new people,” she said.

Myla’s younger brother, Wyatt, 11, is involved in the rodeo, too. He rides bulls, steers, competes in chute doggin. shooting and ribbon roping.

“I really like riding bulls and steers, when you just hop on it and you’re out there in the arena. It’s really fun,” Wyatt said.

Riding bulls and steers started out with being just something he wanted to try out. It didn’t take him long before he was hooked.

“I wanted to try it and see how good I was, to see if I could make some money from doing it and just have fun,” he said.

Even though Wyatt has not made any money from the sport he has come to embrace, he is no quitter. He will keep trying, he said.

Wyatt said for the most part he is not scared. The only time he gets scared is when the bull or steer rears in the shoot.

Falling off is not a big deal to Wyatt.

“It doesn’t really hurt that much and they usually don’t chase you,” he said.

Chute dogging is an event where the contestant is in the chute with a steer. When the contestant is ready, he lets the chute opener know. With the gate opened, the contestant holds the steer by the horns and brings it to a marked line.

“Once you reached the line, you flip the steer by its head so all four legs are in the air. It’s fun,” Wyatt said.

Wyatt enjoys target shooting, as well.

In ribbon roping, a calf is released into the arena. One chases it by horse, another by foot.

The rider then ropes the calf, jumps off and has to touch it before the runner can. Once the runner has grabbed the ribbon that is tied to the calf’s tail, he sprints to the finish line.

“I like being the runner, because it is one of my many talents. I like to go out there and show people how fast I can run,” Wyatt said.

One thing that Myla and Wyatt agree on is that rodeo is a fun sport.