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Brown proud to represent BC in Nationals

For those who are into the rodeo scene, you may want to remember the name Aiden Brown in years to come.

The 13-year-old, and soon-to-be eighth grader at Garrett Junior High, is quickly becoming one of the best youth rodeo competitors in the state. Those skills will be showcased against some of the top young competitors in the nation June 23-29 in Des Moines, Iowa at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo.

At the recent state championships in Winnemucca, Aiden won the short go-round in chute dogging (steer wrestling for junior high), throwing his steer in 2.74 seconds. Overall, he ended up the average bareback champion, and the reserve average champion (runner-up) in bull riding and bareback.

This qualified him for the nationals where he will represent Boulder City and Nevada. He’s the first junior rider from Boulder City to qualify for nationals since 2005.

What’s impressive is, Aiden began competing in bareback and chute dogging just three rodeos prior to the state championship.

“I felt pretty good,” he said of his state performance. “I feel like I could have done better and won state. I was a little nervous but there was way more excitement than nervousness.”

“He’s super hard on himself,” said Matt Brown, who is not only his father but one of the directors of BC Rodeo Club. “He did a great job. He was the only kid to not get bucked off anything. He did everything he could to win it. I was super proud of him. If nothing else, the improvement he’s shown between last season and this one has been amazing. He was a little down on himself for not winning but I said, ‘You are No. 2 in the state, that’s not too bad, bud, especially considering this is only your second in the sport. It was a super proud moment for me seeing him signing his papers that he’s going to nationals and up on the award stand.”

Last year, as a sixth-grader, was Aiden’s first time participating in competitive rodeo. His goal coming into this year was to qualify for the National Finals, which he accomplished. There, he will compete against the top four in bareback and bull riding from 48 states in addition to Canada and Mexico.

As to his favorite and best events, Aiden wasted no time in answering. Coincidentally, they’re the same.

“I feel bull riding is more dangerous and exciting than bareback,” he said. “When I’m on a bull, I just tell myself to ‘stay off my pockets (his behind), stay looking down, keep my arm up and don’t touch the bull.’”

As one of the team directors and a father, Matt was asked what it’s like seeing his son compete in events that can often be dangerous.

“All my boys have been involved in rodeo,” he said. “I’m looking at it and I know the dangers of it, so while accidents can happen, if he’s doing things right, he’s probably not going to get hurt. He broke his arm last year but he knows that was 100% his fault because he didn’t dismount correctly. I was waiting to see if that was going to be it (Aiden’s level of desire to bull ride) but he wanted to ride with his cast on. He’s definitely my adrenalin junkie. I get way more nervous for my kids than I ever did when I competed.”

While the bulls ridden by junior and high school competitors are smaller than the ones ridden by the pros, they’re still more than 1,000 pounds.

“They’re a little smaller and their bucking criteria is different,” Matt said. “Most junior high bulls, they buck hard but they usually don’t do anything super crazy. They’ll come out and spin a little bit and buck hard but they’ll buck across the arena as opposed to crazy stuff like coming after you once you get bucked off.”

The first time Aiden rode a bull he said he lasted about two seconds but knew it was something he wanted to pursue. Now, he’s happy when he gets a bull notorious for its bucking ability because that plays a big part in a rider’s overall score if they are able to stay on for the required eight seconds.

“Now, he’s looking for the meanest one,” Matt said, laughing.

As for the nationals, Aiden realizes this will be an opportunity to see where he stands against the best riders in the nation. His dream is to ride in high school, college and then turn pro.

“I’m a little nervous but very excited,” Aiden said with a big grin.

Ron Eland is editor of the Boulder City Review. He can be reached at reland@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523.

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