Many years ago, my brothers and I were discussing the merits of being the best at something. We went back and forth between being the strongest, the tallest, the richest and on and on we went. Ultimately, the oldest of us four decided for us that to be able to call yourself the fastest in the world would be pretty cool. Maybe because all the speed in the family went to Dennis and we other three longed for some of it.
A few years later as I relayed this discussion to a group of peers, one of the geniuses in the room chimed in with, “Sure, being the fastest in the world would be pretty great. However, no matter what it is you are best at, you will always fall behind the bullriders as the coolest thing to be best at.”
This claim received no challenge from the room.
So, a tip of the hat goes to Riley Newman of Headrick (or Blair) depending on which family member you ask.
Riley is 13 year old 8th grader at Altus Junior High. Earlier this year, he made a decision that would make any parent’s or grandparent’s day. Riley decided to ride bulls. Unlike most teenagers who move from one interest to another, Riley thinks he likes riding bulls. He is pretty good at it too. In fact, he is really good.
Riley Newman may just be the best bullrider in the country, at least at his age.
In the finals at Vernon, Riley climbed on a bull that hadn’t been ridden in competition before. Riley managed to get 12 seconds on top it. He scored a 71 and took 3rd place.
Riley’s competition is mainly against 15 year old riders that have worked their way up through calves on through the ranks. These riders often have 7 to 8 years of competition experience.
None of this mattered to Riley. He rode both bulls in his first rodeo ever and won the thing.
Riley’s efforts earned the attention of the JRCA voters who named Riley the Reserve Champion 12-14 JRCA Bull Riding for 2014. He was voted 12th place All Around Cowboy for 12-14 year olds.
Riley has set a lofty, yet realistic goal of being the Champion Bull Rider for 2015.
Even if his parents, Scott Newman and Amber and Bill Decker, or his grandparents Claudia Newman and Wayne and Donna Cain, would like him to find a new activity, Riley has other plans. He is all-in for riding in the High School Rodeo competitions for the Fall and Spring season.
Recently, during a practice in Cache, Riley was “hung-up” on a bull for over 20 seconds, eventually sending Riley and two of the bull fighters to the ground. This is, of course, is one of the side-effects to climbing on a bull. His grandfather asked Riley if he now had enough riding bulls yet.
Riley responded, “No way! I rode two more after that.”
Bullriders are a rare breed. There aren’t many around. You can probably name every successful bullrider you know in one breathe. For Riley to be so successful in his first season is pretty cool.
Congratulations Riley. You are a bullrider… the best around.