Jul 23, 2012 7:46 PM by Lacey Steele

Little Britches competitors have a strong passion for rodeo

It's the ropes and the reins and the thrill of the rodeo, but this one is for kids and teens only, hundreds of them.

We found out more at the Little Britches National Finals in Pueblo.

For these kids and teens, their horses are their family, and the arena is their home.

"Just the thrill of being out in the arena," said Bryer Wadhams, a 14-year-old competitor.

Each rider from across the nation qualified in different events, and they're here for one thing.

"You want to win," said Morgan George, a 13-year-old competitor.

As with many sports, there can be injuries.

"Yeah, I've had a couple of friends who have been kicked or fallen off," said Wadhams.

But riders and parents say they aren't worried.

"We have far less injuries in rodeo than, say, football," said Robert Lay, the President of the Executive Board for the National Little Britches Association.

"It can be dangerous at some times, but if you're careful then it's pretty safe," said Wadhams.

"We have the same safety measures as a lot of other sports," said Lay. "We have vests, helmets, mouthpieces to help keep kids from getting concussions."

That's with the rough stock riding, like bull riding, which you can't do until age nine, and you ride a much smaller bull.

Other events aren't as dangerous, and most young riders at the rodeo say they haven't had a major injury.

For those who have, they show no fear.

"Being a rough stock rider, or even any in rodeo, it's a total different mentality," said Lay. "It's something that you love to do. It's just like if you break an arm playing football or baseball, you're going to play again."

"Just get back out there and try again until you get it right," said Wadhams.

This finals week is the culmination of those who worked hard, kept trying, and made it this far.

The rodeo runs through the rest of this week.

This is one of the biggest events of the year at the state fairgrounds with 800 competitors plus family members.



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