Local children get taste of western rodeos

Grit and strong will are synonymous with cowboys and rodeos, but at the Dusty Bottoms Rodeo in Sterrett this past weekend the Cowgirls were catching everyone&8217;s eye.

More than 500 people visited Hidden Creek Ranch for the kids&8217; rodeo for ages 2-16, and watched Katie Palmer and Kendall Vinsant battle for the cowgirl of the Show belt buckle.

Katie hoped to one-up her opponents by entering the bull riding competition.

&8220;I rode a mechanical bull recently and thought it was fun. I&8217;m going for that little belt buckle,&8221; Katie said.

She lasted 2.5 seconds on the bull before being bucked off and losing her hat.

&8220;It was real nerve racking. I was thinking about hopping off, but I saw all of the people, and I didn&8217;t want to let them down, so I stayed on,&8221; Katie said. &8220;I feel honored to wear this hat now.&8221;

The 11-year-old Hoover resident impressed ranch owner Ky Vinsant with her third place bull riding finish Saturday and first place finish in the calf roping competition Sunday morning.

&8220;Katie&8217;s turning out to be one heck of a cowgirl,&8221; Vinsant said. &8220;This little girl got a loop on a steer that is three to four times her size. She was just hanging on and being drug through the dust with a &8216;I will not give up&8217; idea. That&8217;s what &8216;Cowboy up&8217; or, I guess, &8216;Cowgirl up&8217; means. That&8217;s the kind of the spirit we&8217;d like to see.&8221;

Katie, who has only been exposed to western riding and rodeo for four months, missed out on the belt buckle, as young veteran Kendall, age 12, won her first buckle for her division &045; helping her Uncle Ky&8217;s dream come to fruition.

&8220;They didn&8217;t stream down my cheeks, but it was all I could do to hold them back,&8221; he said. &8220;That&8217;s been part of a dream for me ever since she started riding. When you see Kendall get out there and do what she did (Sunday), yeah I love her, and she&8217;s my little niece, but it has nothing to do with me. Her and her horse went out there and won hands down. That&8217;s quite an accomplishment for a kid.&8221;

Kendall, who hopes to one day be a veterinarian and possibly rodeo on the side, says she mainly just likes to ride her quarter pony Socks.

Another young cowgirl was the talk of the show Sunday as it came time for goat tying around 2 p.m. Emma Tarence took pointers from Vinsant just before the start of the 6-under event.

After chasing the goat and attempting to flip it by the hind legs, pull it down by the horns and body slam it, she eventually knocked him over for the six-second pin, to capture first place and surprise her parents and Vinsant.

&8220;I saw some of the most spunk I&8217;ve ever seen in a little girl that age,&8221; Vinsant said.

The event was the first time Emma has ever been near a farm animal.

&8220;We didn&8217;t know that she was going to do this, or even would do it, but she was just excited,&8221; her father Zane Tarence said.

Vinsant says he is already receiving requests for another Dusty Bottoms Rodeo this summer.

&8220;We had the phone ringing off the hook (Monday) morning wanting to know when the next one is,&8221; Vinsant said.

The ranch now prepares to host a pro rodeo May 18-20