Colby McCullough may be a 14-year-old of few words, but that’s because he is already focused on when he will be getting strapped in to ride a bucking steer.
McCullough will be competing in Junior Boy’s Steering Riding at the Calgary Stampede on July 9.
“You aren’t allowed to talk to him on rodeo day,” jokes his mother, Laura Thompson.
“When he gets focused, he is really focused. He can even get a little mad at you if you interrupt him.”
McCullough has already shown great focus and determination this year. He took third place in steer riding at the Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo in April. His most recent achievement was taking fourth place at the Clinton May Ball Rodeo on May 28.
McCullough has been riding steers for three years after watching his cousins competing in steer riding. He has been attending steer-riding schools for the last two years with his most recent lessons at the Mike Gill Steer Riding and Chute Dogging School in Merritt.
Unlike most riders, he says there isn’t as much of a rush as one would expect.
“Those eight seconds feel like a long time. You don’t really feel a big rush.”
The rush may be passed on to Thompson as she jokes about how she used to feel about him getting into the sport.
“I told him when he was young that he couldn’t be a bull rider. Guess I was wrong about that, but I’m proud of him and what he has accomplished.”
As the Stampede draws closer, McCullough says he is extremely focused on what is to come but also a little anxious.
“I’m both nervous and excited. Right now, I’m just mentally preparing. When I go to sit in the saddle, I think about riding and nothing else.”