Skidmore-Tynan ISD sophomore-to-be Brandon Loya Jr. did just that and in his first year of bull-riding he made it to the state event.
Loya was fourth at the Sinton regional meet and that was good enough to qualify the “rookie” rider to compete at the state level meet in Abilene June 7-15. The Bobcat rode just one bull at the meet, out of three tries, but his score was good enough on that one bull to capture 11th overall out of 50 riders from across Texas. He was the second highest “rookie” in the state.
Bull riders classify a rookie as anyone who had not ridden competitively before this year and not many ever make it to the state meet and score well enough to be in the top 20 riders.
Loya has been riding horses all his life and has grown up around rodeo and bull riding. His father, Brandon Loya Sr., was a bull fighter and Brandon Jr. took to it like it was second nature to him.
“It’s real competitive and fun. It feels great when you make the ride,” said young Loya.
“He’s developed a lot of friends in the High School Rodeo Association and they all help each other out, even if they’re competing against one another,” said Brandon’s mother, Samantha Loya.
“It’s not something we wanted him to do but we’re supportive of his decision,” said his mother.
Nerves are not necessarily a part of bull riding, according to Brandon, at least for him.
“Not really,” he said in answer to the question about being nervous when he gets ready to ride. His mother also confides it’s not when he gets on the bulls; it’s when he hits the ground.
“I know he can ride, but when he bucks off and hits the ground it makes me nervous,” said Samantha Loya.
A lot can happen when the rider is basically defenseless in the dirt. The bull can change direction and try to run over him or kick him. That’s when the bull fighters come to the rescue and divert the bull’s attention, giving the rider time to make a hasty exit.
Area rodeo members reside in George West, Victoria, Sinton, Mathis and Premont, in addition to Skidmore. The Texas High School Rodeo Association is one of the largest high school rodeo groups in the country.
Loya began riding calves when he was four and has moved up through the years to bigger and bigger stock. Most of the time he practices at a ring in George West with the assistance of Mr. Fox and Mr. Lloyd Koerth of K-3 Bucking Bulls.
“I want to make it to nationals next year,” Loya said.
The finals this year were in Rock Springs, Wyo., and have been held in places like Las Vegas and other big western cities. More than 12,500 students from 41 states and Canada and Australia are involved in rodeo’s various events at this level.
Brandon will probably get to visit a few of those big national meets in the years to come.
The young rider will also be leaving to the Texas Youth Rodeo Association State Finals in July, he placed third in the bull riding division of that organization.