Isaac Gibson

There are plenty of things for kids to do to get involved in the rodeo, especially the Haines Stampede.

However, the one thing that was missing was a bronc event.

So the rodeo board decided to add the mini ranch saddle bronc to the schedule, so kids could get the opportunity to get bucked on a horse.

The mini saddle bronc involves kids younger than 13 riding ponies with a saddle, as opposed to bareback, and holding on while the horse is bucking.

Ethan Thompson, 10, won the event on Tuesday with 88 points, and it was his first time ever being in a rodeo.

“The whole time I was thinking about how I was going to fall off,” Ethan said. “I was hanging on for dear life.”

Ethan grew up riding horses and calves at his house, and because most of his family is involved with rodeo, it was only a matter of time for him to follow them.

“I’m definitely going to keep doing this,” he said. “It was so much fun.”

For Lexi Rupel, 10, it was her first time being in a rodeo as well.

“It was fun,” Rupel said. “Well, kind of before I fell off.”

Rupel, who began riding horses a couple of years ago, was inspired by her step-dad to compete in bronc riding.

For Rupel, she was not scared to perform in front of the crowd — she was scared of was falling off.

“I got hit right here,” Rupel said pointing to her stomach.

When she got bucked off the pony, she fell onto the cantle of the saddle, knocking the wind out of her.

ut even when her fear was realized, she was able to stand back up, and even said she was willing to do it again.

Colton Elam, 9, was a bit more experienced with riding.

“This is about my fifth time or so,” he said. “I got started because all my friends started riding, so I though I would too.”

Colton did not score since he was bucked off early, cutting his mouth in the process. However, he did not even notice.

“When I go out there, winning is the only thing I am thinking about,” Colton said. “Well, winning and having fun I mean.”

There was a tie for second place between Wyatt Martin, 12, and Buttons Pool, 11, who scored 81 points apiece.

“I was nervous at how big the horse was,” said Buttons, who was competing in the rodeo for the first time. “But I just faced my fear and nodded my head and had a good ride — I still have an adrenaline rush.”

Wyatt, who had only ridden bareback, decided that he might continue on with saddle riding.

“I mean I think it is a whole lot easier,” Wyatt said. “I definitely think it is something that I am going to keep on doing.”

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