Rural Missouri - August 2011 - (Page 20)

Veteran bull rider Steven Lile takes on the challenge of mentoring young riders Bull rider Steven Lile sits on the bull holding pens before his turn to ride at the Extreme Bull Riding event at the DeKalb County Fair in Maysville in June. by Caitlyn Emmett cemmett@ruralmissouri.coop they would get stuck at home,” he says. “I would know one that could ride real well, so I just started telling them these are the places you need to go and they could ride along with me.” For the past two years, he has been mentoring Dawson Caudill, 17, who • Billings wants to turn bull riding into a career. “I wouldn’t know what to do without him,” Dawson says. “His guidance with bull riders has helped a lot of younger riders learn and improve more within their career. He told me, ‘Winners win. Show up and you’re a winner and that winner is gonna be me.’” The constant traveling bull riding requires has led to a bond between the bull riders. Dawson expects the friendship will last for life. “It’s the only thing I have ever been good at,” Steven says. “A part of bull riding I would say I don’t like as much . . . Well, I wouldn’t know what that would be.” In the American version of bull riding, a rider must remain on top of a bucking bull for eight seconds while having one hand fastened to a long braided rope attached to the bull. It is an extremely risky sport and has been called the “most dangerous eight seconds in sports.” Ask any of the bull riders you come Steven buckles his chaps before trying to hold on for eight seconds to the back of a across, and they’ll rattle off their bucking bull. He won these chaps in a previous bull-riding competition. injuries like a grocery list. Steven has careers started. Steven got on his first bull when he was 13, but he didn’t start going hard in the sport until he was 15. “Once I started hitting it hard, I would go to 150 bull-ride events a year.” Yet, in the past few years, Steven has begun to slow down a little with bull riding. “I have a wife and a baby boy waiting at home for me now,” he says. “I don’t like being away from home for long.” Mentoring younger riders to help their careers in the sport just seemed to fit for Steven. He saw the difficulties they faced when trying to move up from youth rodeos. “They didn’t know how to enter or where to go and S teven Lile wipes the sweat from his forehead with the back of his free hand, shading his eyes from the glare of the setting sun. He tightly secures his cowboy hat to his head. He isn’t smiling as he slowly lowers himself over the back of a 1,750-pound Angus bull at the Dekalb County Fair in Maysville. The bull’s eyes widen, ramming its body against the gate. Steven’s white-knuckle grip tightens. His body hunches over the back of the animal anticipating its release from the bucking chute. Both bull and rider know what comes next. The gate swings open. Snot and dust dance in the arena air as the bull twists, lurches and bucks to be rid of the cowboy strapped to its back. After less than eight seconds, it’s all over. Steven gets back on his feet. He slaps the dust from his chaps. At 28 years old, he is one of the oldest bull riders at today’s event. Steven says the thrill is the same as when he started riding bulls. “I feel like I ride better now than when I was younger because I’m smarter and I know how to hit it better. I hurt a lot more now than I used to, though.” Now a veteran on the circuit, the Ozark Electric Cooperative member now lets younger riders tag along with him to help them get their bull-riding 20 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - August 2011

Rural Missouri - August 2011
Comments
Columns
Stop and smell the barbecue
2011 Missouri Youth Tour
The fight on Bloody Hill
Missouri snapshots
Out of the Way Eats
Eight seconds to win
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
Touring history
Marketplace
Around Missouri
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - August 2011

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