Miniature bulls give young riders a thrill | TheFencePost.com

Miniature bulls give young riders a thrill

Gayle Smith
Gering, Neb.

Photo courtesy of Brubaker Photography.King Kong

When Tim O’Neal’s small son decided he wanted to ride bulls, O’Neal searched the country for a miniature bull that the then 5-year-old could use for practice.

O’Neal, who owns a successful stock contracting business, HOWL Rodeo Bulls, based in Lander, Wyo., liked the miniature bull he found for his son, so he decided to add the miniature rodeo bulls to their growing business. “When we bought the miniature bucking bull for Cole to start riding, he developed a lot of interest in it and it blossomed from there,” O’Neal explained. “We have traveled all over the United States to purchase the pen of miniature bulls we have now,” he continued. “We have over 30 head.”

O’Neal comes from a long line of stock contractors in Wyoming. His grandfather, Bill Frank, was a stock contractor from the 1950s to the 1970s, and owned the Frank Rodeo Company. O’Neal’s father fought bulls for his grandfather. “My dad was a rancher and roper and fought bulls for my grandfather. My mother ran barrels, and still does,” he said.

O’Neal and his wife, JoAnn, have both competed in rodeo most of their lives. The family business, HOWL Rodeo Bulls, carries on the tradition of stock contracting. The business is more than just miniature bulls. O’Neal also has full size bucking bulls and other rodeo stock to supply the 40-50 rodeos they travel to each year. “We want to keep this business going to help our kids. When we are ready to step down, we hope to have this built up into something we can give them,” he explained.

The business is truly a family affair. Their four children, Laci Harper, 21, Bailie Harper, 18, Talyn O’Neal, 10, and Cole O’Neal, 8, all help with the family business. “Everyone that is old enough drives the trucks hauling stock. My wife is the Ultimate Miniature Bull (UMB) secretary,” O’Neal explained.

“Laci runs the back pens and flanks the bulls for me. I either flank or fight bulls depending on the event,” he said. O’Neal has fought bulls for 23 years. “I went to the Rob Smets bull fighting school and fought bulls with him for awhile,” he explained. “He really taught me a lot.”

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“Bailie is the bull shagger,” O’Neal continued. “She is the one on horseback that puts bulls away and takes care of the arena on horseback. At some rodeos, she also serves as the official timer.”

“Talyn is the official barrelman,” O’Neal proudly admits. She is in the barrel during the bull fighting, and has actually been rolled by some of the miniature bulls. Talyn has a goal of being the first woman bullfighter. “This summer, she might start getting out in front of some of the miniature bulls that aren’t quite as aggressive,” O’Neal said.

Cole is the bull rider in the family, O’Neal finished. “He has been riding the miniature bulls since he was 5.” In addition to competing in the UMB, Cole is also a member of the Pavillon Youth Rodeo Association.

In addition to helping with the family operation, they all compete in rodeo events. Laci competes in college rodeo, Bailie competes in high school rodeo, and Talyn competes in junior rodeo. Tim and JoAnn also compete, when time allows. “We go all the way from peewee to PRCA in our family,” he said.

O’Neal said riding the miniature bulls is similar to riding a full size bull. “The miniature bulls are built more like a full size bucking bull,” O’Neal explained. “They buck more like a big bull, and they aren’t as narrow as a steer. When you ride them, they have the body action like a big bull and the hump.”

“They are a great training aid for the little guys,” O’Neal continued. “They give the little guys confidence in the chute, and they help build skills that will help them throughout their careers.”

Like the big bulls, O’Neal said his miniature bulls vary in disposition. “We have some little bulls that you can walk out to the pasture and scratch. Others don’t want to be around you,” he said. “Some are gentle and like to be scratched, but when they are loaded in the chute to be ridden, they are all business and will go after the bullfighter.”

Miniature bull riding has become a popular sport in the United States for the younger boys. O’Neal is only one of many stock contractors who brings miniature bulls for the UMB and other miniature bull riding events. O’Neal travels with the miniature bulls to about 30 events each year, mostly in Wyoming and Colorado.

The UMB regional finals are held in Helena, Mont., in November. The top eight miniature bull riders from Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Idaho and Utah compete in the event. “We go year-round with the UMB,” O’Neal said. “We try to have at least one rodeo a month. Someday, it would be nice to have a UMB National Finals, but we haven’t been able to get that organized as of yet.”

O’Neal said the most of the boys riding the miniature bulls are between 9 and 14 years old. Seven- and 8-year-old boys ride peewee bulls and boys under 6 can compete in sheep riding. O’Neal said he has miniature bulls for every type of rider. “I use some of my seasoned bulls for beginners because they are calm in the chute and help these kids build confidence. They take care of the little guys in the chute, and they are slow and animated in the arena,” he said.

O’Neal said like the big bulls, the miniature bulls can be a combination of different breeds. He said Dexter, Miniature Longhorn, Zebu, Lowline, and Miniature Scotch Highlands are among some of the more popular breeds that make up the miniatures. “We can find a home in our program for most any miniature,” O’Neal said. “If it doesn’t buck real well, it can be placed in the peewee pen. If they buck really well, they go into the short go pen. Some of the bulls in that pen can not only buck, but spin and kick as well. There is a lot of power there in a small package,” O’Neal said. “The only requirement we have is they have to be under 48 inches where the bull rope would lay to be considered a miniature.”

Recently, O’Neal said the American Bucking Bull Incorporated (ABBI) started allowing breeders to register Miniature American bucking bulls. “We plan to trace our bloodlines just like we do with our big bulls and cows,” he said. “They will all be DNA tested. Miniature bulls can be any breed as long as they can buck.”

O’Neal said they are now raising miniature bulls on the family operation, and have had some calves born that weigh as little as 17 pounds.

O’Neal is particularly proud of one miniature bull he has acquired from Texas called King Kong. “We promote him as the smallest bucking bull in the world,” O’Neal said. “He is 32 inches tall and weighs about 300 pounds. He has a big hump.”

O’Neal continued that disposition-wise the bull “knows he’s a star and can get ornery.” “He is so small, he is like having a sheep in the chute,” O’Neal explained. “He tries to turn in the chute and he growls. For his size, he can really buck.”

At some events, O’Neal bucks King Kong in the peewee pen, but he is used mostly as a public relations bull to promote HOWL and the sport of miniature bull riding. “We pen him next to a full size bull so people can see the difference,” he said.

To learn more about HOWL Rodeo bulls, see their website at http://www.HOWLRodeoBulls.com.

When Tim O’Neal’s small son decided he wanted to ride bulls, O’Neal searched the country for a miniature bull that the then 5-year-old could use for practice.

O’Neal, who owns a successful stock contracting business, HOWL Rodeo Bulls, based in Lander, Wyo., liked the miniature bull he found for his son, so he decided to add the miniature rodeo bulls to their growing business. “When we bought the miniature bucking bull for Cole to start riding, he developed a lot of interest in it and it blossomed from there,” O’Neal explained. “We have traveled all over the United States to purchase the pen of miniature bulls we have now,” he continued. “We have over 30 head.”

O’Neal comes from a long line of stock contractors in Wyoming. His grandfather, Bill Frank, was a stock contractor from the 1950s to the 1970s, and owned the Frank Rodeo Company. O’Neal’s father fought bulls for his grandfather. “My dad was a rancher and roper and fought bulls for my grandfather. My mother ran barrels, and still does,” he said.

O’Neal and his wife, JoAnn, have both competed in rodeo most of their lives. The family business, HOWL Rodeo Bulls, carries on the tradition of stock contracting. The business is more than just miniature bulls. O’Neal also has full size bucking bulls and other rodeo stock to supply the 40-50 rodeos they travel to each year. “We want to keep this business going to help our kids. When we are ready to step down, we hope to have this built up into something we can give them,” he explained.

The business is truly a family affair. Their four children, Laci Harper, 21, Bailie Harper, 18, Talyn O’Neal, 10, and Cole O’Neal, 8, all help with the family business. “Everyone that is old enough drives the trucks hauling stock. My wife is the Ultimate Miniature Bull (UMB) secretary,” O’Neal explained.

“Laci runs the back pens and flanks the bulls for me. I either flank or fight bulls depending on the event,” he said. O’Neal has fought bulls for 23 years. “I went to the Rob Smets bull fighting school and fought bulls with him for awhile,” he explained. “He really taught me a lot.”

“Bailie is the bull shagger,” O’Neal continued. “She is the one on horseback that puts bulls away and takes care of the arena on horseback. At some rodeos, she also serves as the official timer.”

“Talyn is the official barrelman,” O’Neal proudly admits. She is in the barrel during the bull fighting, and has actually been rolled by some of the miniature bulls. Talyn has a goal of being the first woman bullfighter. “This summer, she might start getting out in front of some of the miniature bulls that aren’t quite as aggressive,” O’Neal said.

Cole is the bull rider in the family, O’Neal finished. “He has been riding the miniature bulls since he was 5.” In addition to competing in the UMB, Cole is also a member of the Pavillon Youth Rodeo Association.

In addition to helping with the family operation, they all compete in rodeo events. Laci competes in college rodeo, Bailie competes in high school rodeo, and Talyn competes in junior rodeo. Tim and JoAnn also compete, when time allows. “We go all the way from peewee to PRCA in our family,” he said.

O’Neal said riding the miniature bulls is similar to riding a full size bull. “The miniature bulls are built more like a full size bucking bull,” O’Neal explained. “They buck more like a big bull, and they aren’t as narrow as a steer. When you ride them, they have the body action like a big bull and the hump.”

“They are a great training aid for the little guys,” O’Neal continued. “They give the little guys confidence in the chute, and they help build skills that will help them throughout their careers.”

Like the big bulls, O’Neal said his miniature bulls vary in disposition. “We have some little bulls that you can walk out to the pasture and scratch. Others don’t want to be around you,” he said. “Some are gentle and like to be scratched, but when they are loaded in the chute to be ridden, they are all business and will go after the bullfighter.”

Miniature bull riding has become a popular sport in the United States for the younger boys. O’Neal is only one of many stock contractors who brings miniature bulls for the UMB and other miniature bull riding events. O’Neal travels with the miniature bulls to about 30 events each year, mostly in Wyoming and Colorado.

The UMB regional finals are held in Helena, Mont., in November. The top eight miniature bull riders from Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Idaho and Utah compete in the event. “We go year-round with the UMB,” O’Neal said. “We try to have at least one rodeo a month. Someday, it would be nice to have a UMB National Finals, but we haven’t been able to get that organized as of yet.”

O’Neal said the most of the boys riding the miniature bulls are between 9 and 14 years old. Seven- and 8-year-old boys ride peewee bulls and boys under 6 can compete in sheep riding. O’Neal said he has miniature bulls for every type of rider. “I use some of my seasoned bulls for beginners because they are calm in the chute and help these kids build confidence. They take care of the little guys in the chute, and they are slow and animated in the arena,” he said.

O’Neal said like the big bulls, the miniature bulls can be a combination of different breeds. He said Dexter, Miniature Longhorn, Zebu, Lowline, and Miniature Scotch Highlands are among some of the more popular breeds that make up the miniatures. “We can find a home in our program for most any miniature,” O’Neal said. “If it doesn’t buck real well, it can be placed in the peewee pen. If they buck really well, they go into the short go pen. Some of the bulls in that pen can not only buck, but spin and kick as well. There is a lot of power there in a small package,” O’Neal said. “The only requirement we have is they have to be under 48 inches where the bull rope would lay to be considered a miniature.”

Recently, O’Neal said the American Bucking Bull Incorporated (ABBI) started allowing breeders to register Miniature American bucking bulls. “We plan to trace our bloodlines just like we do with our big bulls and cows,” he said. “They will all be DNA tested. Miniature bulls can be any breed as long as they can buck.”

O’Neal said they are now raising miniature bulls on the family operation, and have had some calves born that weigh as little as 17 pounds.

O’Neal is particularly proud of one miniature bull he has acquired from Texas called King Kong. “We promote him as the smallest bucking bull in the world,” O’Neal said. “He is 32 inches tall and weighs about 300 pounds. He has a big hump.”

O’Neal continued that disposition-wise the bull “knows he’s a star and can get ornery.” “He is so small, he is like having a sheep in the chute,” O’Neal explained. “He tries to turn in the chute and he growls. For his size, he can really buck.”

At some events, O’Neal bucks King Kong in the peewee pen, but he is used mostly as a public relations bull to promote HOWL and the sport of miniature bull riding. “We pen him next to a full size bull so people can see the difference,” he said.

To learn more about HOWL Rodeo bulls, see their website at http://www.HOWLRodeoBulls.com.

When Tim O’Neal’s small son decided he wanted to ride bulls, O’Neal searched the country for a miniature bull that the then 5-year-old could use for practice.

O’Neal, who owns a successful stock contracting business, HOWL Rodeo Bulls, based in Lander, Wyo., liked the miniature bull he found for his son, so he decided to add the miniature rodeo bulls to their growing business. “When we bought the miniature bucking bull for Cole to start riding, he developed a lot of interest in it and it blossomed from there,” O’Neal explained. “We have traveled all over the United States to purchase the pen of miniature bulls we have now,” he continued. “We have over 30 head.”

O’Neal comes from a long line of stock contractors in Wyoming. His grandfather, Bill Frank, was a stock contractor from the 1950s to the 1970s, and owned the Frank Rodeo Company. O’Neal’s father fought bulls for his grandfather. “My dad was a rancher and roper and fought bulls for my grandfather. My mother ran barrels, and still does,” he said.

O’Neal and his wife, JoAnn, have both competed in rodeo most of their lives. The family business, HOWL Rodeo Bulls, carries on the tradition of stock contracting. The business is more than just miniature bulls. O’Neal also has full size bucking bulls and other rodeo stock to supply the 40-50 rodeos they travel to each year. “We want to keep this business going to help our kids. When we are ready to step down, we hope to have this built up into something we can give them,” he explained.

The business is truly a family affair. Their four children, Laci Harper, 21, Bailie Harper, 18, Talyn O’Neal, 10, and Cole O’Neal, 8, all help with the family business. “Everyone that is old enough drives the trucks hauling stock. My wife is the Ultimate Miniature Bull (UMB) secretary,” O’Neal explained.

“Laci runs the back pens and flanks the bulls for me. I either flank or fight bulls depending on the event,” he said. O’Neal has fought bulls for 23 years. “I went to the Rob Smets bull fighting school and fought bulls with him for awhile,” he explained. “He really taught me a lot.”

“Bailie is the bull shagger,” O’Neal continued. “She is the one on horseback that puts bulls away and takes care of the arena on horseback. At some rodeos, she also serves as the official timer.”

“Talyn is the official barrelman,” O’Neal proudly admits. She is in the barrel during the bull fighting, and has actually been rolled by some of the miniature bulls. Talyn has a goal of being the first woman bullfighter. “This summer, she might start getting out in front of some of the miniature bulls that aren’t quite as aggressive,” O’Neal said.

Cole is the bull rider in the family, O’Neal finished. “He has been riding the miniature bulls since he was 5.” In addition to competing in the UMB, Cole is also a member of the Pavillon Youth Rodeo Association.

In addition to helping with the family operation, they all compete in rodeo events. Laci competes in college rodeo, Bailie competes in high school rodeo, and Talyn competes in junior rodeo. Tim and JoAnn also compete, when time allows. “We go all the way from peewee to PRCA in our family,” he said.

O’Neal said riding the miniature bulls is similar to riding a full size bull. “The miniature bulls are built more like a full size bucking bull,” O’Neal explained. “They buck more like a big bull, and they aren’t as narrow as a steer. When you ride them, they have the body action like a big bull and the hump.”

“They are a great training aid for the little guys,” O’Neal continued. “They give the little guys confidence in the chute, and they help build skills that will help them throughout their careers.”

Like the big bulls, O’Neal said his miniature bulls vary in disposition. “We have some little bulls that you can walk out to the pasture and scratch. Others don’t want to be around you,” he said. “Some are gentle and like to be scratched, but when they are loaded in the chute to be ridden, they are all business and will go after the bullfighter.”

Miniature bull riding has become a popular sport in the United States for the younger boys. O’Neal is only one of many stock contractors who brings miniature bulls for the UMB and other miniature bull riding events. O’Neal travels with the miniature bulls to about 30 events each year, mostly in Wyoming and Colorado.

The UMB regional finals are held in Helena, Mont., in November. The top eight miniature bull riders from Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Idaho and Utah compete in the event. “We go year-round with the UMB,” O’Neal said. “We try to have at least one rodeo a month. Someday, it would be nice to have a UMB National Finals, but we haven’t been able to get that organized as of yet.”

O’Neal said the most of the boys riding the miniature bulls are between 9 and 14 years old. Seven- and 8-year-old boys ride peewee bulls and boys under 6 can compete in sheep riding. O’Neal said he has miniature bulls for every type of rider. “I use some of my seasoned bulls for beginners because they are calm in the chute and help these kids build confidence. They take care of the little guys in the chute, and they are slow and animated in the arena,” he said.

O’Neal said like the big bulls, the miniature bulls can be a combination of different breeds. He said Dexter, Miniature Longhorn, Zebu, Lowline, and Miniature Scotch Highlands are among some of the more popular breeds that make up the miniatures. “We can find a home in our program for most any miniature,” O’Neal said. “If it doesn’t buck real well, it can be placed in the peewee pen. If they buck really well, they go into the short go pen. Some of the bulls in that pen can not only buck, but spin and kick as well. There is a lot of power there in a small package,” O’Neal said. “The only requirement we have is they have to be under 48 inches where the bull rope would lay to be considered a miniature.”

Recently, O’Neal said the American Bucking Bull Incorporated (ABBI) started allowing breeders to register Miniature American bucking bulls. “We plan to trace our bloodlines just like we do with our big bulls and cows,” he said. “They will all be DNA tested. Miniature bulls can be any breed as long as they can buck.”

O’Neal said they are now raising miniature bulls on the family operation, and have had some calves born that weigh as little as 17 pounds.

O’Neal is particularly proud of one miniature bull he has acquired from Texas called King Kong. “We promote him as the smallest bucking bull in the world,” O’Neal said. “He is 32 inches tall and weighs about 300 pounds. He has a big hump.”

O’Neal continued that disposition-wise the bull “knows he’s a star and can get ornery.” “He is so small, he is like having a sheep in the chute,” O’Neal explained. “He tries to turn in the chute and he growls. For his size, he can really buck.”

At some events, O’Neal bucks King Kong in the peewee pen, but he is used mostly as a public relations bull to promote HOWL and the sport of miniature bull riding. “We pen him next to a full size bull so people can see the difference,” he said.

To learn more about HOWL Rodeo bulls, see their website at http://www.HOWLRodeoBulls.com.