Steamboat Springs They are the butt of inside jokes around the bucking chutes.
Justin Volz and Mike Lee are so young they don't have to shave.
Justin Volz and Mike Lee are so young they need their parents to get them into the bar.
Well, that one isn't true anymore. Not since Volz turned 21 back on June 29, but you get the point.
Volz and Lee, along with a handful of other bull riders slated to appear in Sunday's Professional Bull Riding Classic in Steamboat Springs, represent the new blood of the PBR circuit.
But unlike many sports where the young guns don't enjoy much immediate success, Lee and Volz are making a name for themselves in bull riding.
They are making a lot of money as well. Brent Romick, Chairman of the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, said the equation is pretty simple.
"When you pit a 150-pound man against a 2,000 pound bull you only have so many rides in your career," he said.
Nowadays, bull riders are starting younger and younger, looking to make their money before they are stepped upon or their arm is torn to shreds. For example, look at Lee. At 19, the Paradise, Texas native has already won $76,950.16 this season. As of Aug. 26, Lee's career earnings in the PRB were nearly $97,700, according to the www.pbrnow.com.
He has one title under his belt buckle, winning the Jacksonville Open with a total of 677 points and a check for $28,200. Volz, a bull rider from Charlie Lake, British Columbia, recently won the Aug. 9-10 Bullnanza event in Oklahoma City and $22,600 in prize money.
Romick holds his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association card and has for a number of years, formerly riding bulls in what he terms "an average" fashion, but even Romick would have taken his cracks at the bulls in the PBR if he could do it over again.
"You're going to have a lot more jingle in your jeans if you ride in the PBR compared to the PRCA," he said. "They are making big money, and that's why television gravitates to them, and that's why these young men are staring to compete at 8, 9 or 10 in a very safe environment and becoming sensations. If I was smart enough, I would rope and compete in the bareback in the PRCA, but I would have darn sure saved all my bull rides to go into the PBR."
The winner of Sunday's event in Steamboat will get a check for $6,000, and it will be hard earned, as there are two rounds to go through for a cowboy to take the top prize.
All of the bull riders in town will take their turns on one of the 65 bulls on hand. The top 10 will then ride again to determine placement.
Romick said the 65 bulls would be hand picked by a four-person panel, and would be taken from a five-state region. The bulls, ranging in value from $5,000-$40,000, arrive Saturday.
Romick said tickets for Sunday's event are going fast. Gates at Romick Arena open at 6 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. start. The order of rides and the bulls the cowboys get are yet to be drawn, but those interested in seeing this event are encouraged to arrive early to ensure a seat.
VIP tickets cost $100 and include parking, food and beverage and a seat near the dirt on the arena floor.
Adult reserved seats are $25 or $30 at the door, while children's reserved seats are $15 and $20, respectively. The reserved seats are located in the large metal grandstands or under the scoreboard.
General admission seating is in the concrete grandstands. Those tickets cost $15 in advance for adults and $10 for children. Tickets will be $20 for adults and $10 for children at the gate.
Tickets can be purchased at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, Soda Creek Western Wear, F.M. Light & Sons and the Corral West Ranchwear in Craig.
To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail email@example.com