The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

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April 5, 2014

2014 WALKER COUNTY FAIR AND RODEO — In bull riding, it's Man vs. Beast

Riders at the fair’s big show hold on for points, dear life

HUNTSVILLE — All of the cowboys competing in the Walker County Fair and Rodeo events are considered tough guys.

Few things offer the credibility bull riding does.

The bull riders are out there risking their lives, depending on others to keep the wild animal from causing some serious bodily harm before it’s all said and done.

By the end of Friday’s big show, the bull riding leaders were Jacob O’Mara (Baton Rouge, La.), Jordan Sammons (Plevna, Kan.) and Brennon Middleton (Greenwell Spring, La.).

Yet one of the fan favorites is Chandler Bownds, the 5-7, 175-pound rider out of Lubbock.

Bownds didn’t quite perform up to his expectations Friday night, certainly not to the standard he’s held himself to since making the National Finals Rodeo as a rookie in 2011.

“The bulls are trying to throw you off and you’re trying to ride them for a perfect score of 100, but usually in the 80s,” Bownds said. “Tonight, the bull was kind of bad in the box and they rolled him up and he worked out then. Whenever he’s turning back, you’ve got to move the head just a touch. I overrode him and he dropped me down in there, bucked me off.”

Bownds, 22, started riding steers when he was 10-years-old and turned pro at 18.

After Friday’s events, he expressed appreciation for the sport itself as a dying breed and the honor of being part of a young group to continue the rodeo tradition.

“It’s just keeping it together,” Bownds said. “And all of these young guys coming up are great. I’ve been pretty fortunate.”

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