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The buck stops here

April 25, 2018

Buddy Golden spent more than 25 years riding bulls. Now he’s one of the many coaches helping the next generation learn the ropes.

Golden, a Loma Rica resident, helped about 50 young people learn about bull and bronc riding in an annual two-day school at Flying U Rodeo on Monday and Tuesday in Wheatland.

“It’s nice to see these kids, the next generation of riders, wanting to learn about the sport,” Golden said. “Some of the biggest highlights in rodeo are giving back.”

He was one of a handful of bull riding coaches who were working with young students on a hand-operated mechanical bull – helping them learn the technique before getting on a real bull.

“I won an event in Chico years ago and I gave my buckle to one of the young kids there who was having such a good time and it was one of the most meaningful experiences of my career,” he said. “All the folks in town said I was crazy for giving away a $5,000 buckle, but it was worth it because that kid had cystic fibrosis and eventually, he started getting involved in rodeos – it really was incredible.”

Courtland Morency, 9, of Reno, who came down with his brother, Eaton, 8, and mother, Andi, was one of the students.

“I learned that when you’re on a bull, you don’t sit on your butt and when the bull is down, you have to be up,” Morency said. “It’s really exciting to see the people riding bulls on TV and now I get to see them in person helping me – it’s cool.”

Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, or PCRA, bareback rider Tanner Aus was one of the pros who helped out – both this year and in 2017.

“It’s a learning process. In this sport, you’ve got to be getting better all the time,” Aus said. “The Rossers put on this school for the kids and it’s a great experience for the kids and helps spread the positive word about our sport.”

Reno Rosser talked about the importance of training, nutrition and working to minimize injuries – both among the pro riders and the up-and-comers.

“Rodeo can break you fast – it retired me quickly,” he said. “Build up your career and go to the smaller rodeos to get experience. You don’t need to go into the PCRA until you’re ready.”

He said they had two arenas set up – one for bull riders and one for bronc riders – and they spent some time in a classroom going over footage of riders to help improve their technique.

Paul and Tawnya Applegarth of Yuba City, run Wild West Buckers, a school that helps children as young as five years old learn about rodeoing.

“We take them to a certain level and then we bring them here to take it to the next level,” said Paul Applegarth. “You’re never done learning in this sport and these are some of the best riders in the world right now.”