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Mtn. States Young Guns Finals held in Greeley

by Tony Bruguiere Fort Collins, Colo.
Tony BruguiereMembers of the Mountain States Young Guns pose for a group picture before starting competition at the 2008 Finals bull riding at Island Grove Park in Greeley, Colo.

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Junior bull riders from 4 to 19 years old have been battling it out for a year in events on the Front Range, the Plains, and the Western Slope for a chance to compete for championship buckles and overall champion saddles.

The Mountain States Young Guns (MSYG) was formed a year ago by a merger of the Mountain States Junior Bull Riders (MSJBR) and the Young Guns Bull Riders from the Fort Collins/Greeley area. These young men and women represent the best talent in Colorado and southern Wyoming. You know that you have the best of the best when 11-time NFR Bull Rider, Jerome Robinson says “these are the best young bull riders that I have ever seen”.

It is not an easy road to the finals. The MSYG has two five-week series at the Sundance Steakhouse in Fort Collins, a weekly series from February to June and from October to December at Island Grove Park in Greeley, Colo., events at the Greeley Stampede and the Budweiser Event Center, and events at other venues in Colorado in the year leading up to the Finals.

The goal of the MSYG is to provide a step-by-step program for young bull riders to hone their skills on animals that fit their age and abilities. Throughout the competition they receive feedback from more experienced bull riders. Top PBR cowboys from Colorado such as Kody Lostroh, Josh Koschel, and Tony Mendes regularly return to offer their insight and expertise.

The MSYG is divided into six age groups starting with the Mutton Busters, who are between 4 and 6 years old. After Mutton Bustin’, participants move on to Calf Riding. The age group here is 8 and under and it is in the Calf Riding that they begin learning the true skills necessary to become a bull rider.

Next, 11-and-younger riders move up to the Rough Riders, where they compete on steers. The next step for young riders is Young Guns where the riders are 13-and-under and their bulls are 2 years old. Up to now contestants have been required to ride their animals for only 6 seconds to get a score.

In the last two age groups, things start getting serious. It now takes 8 seconds for a qualified score. In the 15-and-under Junior Bulls, the bull can be just as big as the Senior Bulls but are just a little bit less ‘bucky’. The last step for MSJBR members is the Senior Bulls division where 19-and-under riders are riding full-grown bulls. At this point many of the riders are competing in high school rodeo and looking forward to college rodeo scholarships or riding professionally.

Although on a smaller scale, the MSYG Finals kicked off with all the showmanship of a PBR event, with flames, spotlights, smoke, and individual presentation of the contestants. This was a three round event with the first round on Friday night, followed by the second round on Saturday morning and the final round on Saturday night. There were cash pay outs for each round and the Reserve Champions and year end saddle winners were crowned after the final round.

Carl Falk of Falk’s Cattle Hoof Trimming presented a trophy to each of the Mutton Bustin’ finalists. These trophies were impressive and taller than the 4- to 6-year-old recipients.

The Finals Average buckle winners were Aiden Malovich, Mutton Bustin’, Ethan Malovich, Calf Riding, Jake Smith, Rough Riders and Young Guns, Cody Wooldridge, Junior Bulls, and Ezekiel Mora, Senior Bulls.

The Reserve Champion buckle winners were Aiden Malovich, Mutton Bustin’, Chance Falk, Calf Riding, Blake Firchau, Roughriders, Chase Bowers, Young Guns, Elijah Mora, Junior Bulls, and Hoss Hunnel, Senior Bulls.

Year-long Average Winners took home not only buckles but also championship saddles. The Average winners were Roper Rich, Mutton Bustin’, Eric Smith, Calf Riding, Jake Smith, Rough Riders and Young Guns, Cody Wooldridge, Junior Bulls, and Ezekiel Mora, Senior Bulls.

Congratulation goes out to all of the Mountain States Young Guns contestants. If your son or daughter wants to participate in the 2009 MSYG season, full information can be obtained by calling Kevin Rich at (970) 454-3633.


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