Meet the Member Eli Woodyard
story by Jet Toberer Second-generation team roper, Eli Woodyard, of small town Max Meadows, Virginia, has been roping since he was 8 years old, and […]
story by Kyle Eusitce
Natalie and Nathan Currie had absolutely no idea their son Justin, 13, would gravitate towards the rodeo world. His mother, in particular, was completely blindsided by her young son’s ambitions.
“I was so surprised,” said Natalie, a teacher at Cleveland Elementary School. “We blew it off for about a year, but he kept telling us he wanted to ride bulls. We thought it was a phase or something. My husband took him out to try it and thought once he fell off he wouldn’t want to do it again. But he did it, fell off and wanted to go again [laughs].”
As an 8th grader at West Rowan Middle School in Salisbury, North Carolina, he’s just getting started, but bull riding is something he knew he wanted to do since the moment he saw it.
“I watched it on TV and just decided I wanted to do it,” said Justin. “I liked the adrenaline rush. The first time I did it, it wasn’t really scary to me. It felt good, especially after you know you made it the eight-seconds.”
Justin realizes bull riding takes a lot of courage, which is why he aims to stay physically and mentally fit. He believes the key to a good run is attitude.
“If you go in thinking you can’t ride well, you probably won’t,” said Justin. “I tell myself to keep moving and remember to have fun.”
Thankfully, Justin has only had one significant injury, a feat in itself considering the dangerous nature of bull riding. In April 2016, a bull stepped on his arm and broke it, requiring Justin to wear a cast and take six weeks off, but he handled it well.
“Even when I get bucked off, I’m usually not mad,” said Justin. “It’s still fun getting on. I just have to be careful. You don’t get hurt most of the time, so you can’t worry about it.”
Justin joined the JRSRA this year, but also participates in the North Carolina Youth Rodeo and National Junior Bull Rider Association. Eventually, he’d like to make it to the high school rodeo and PBR. So far, he’s well on his way.
“I won third place last year in the National Junior Bullriders Association,” said Justin. “It felt really great. I won a buckle, but didn’t win any money this time. I really want to win. I have won money before, but I just saved it up so I could go to nationals in Texas last year. I rode both my steers and came in 15th place. I thought that was pretty good because there were 60 people there.”
Aside from rodeoing, Justin plays football, basketball and baseball. Not only does he play football, but he’s the team quarterback. “I love being the leader of the team,” said Justin.
All in all, Justin has it made. His parents back him all the way. “Justin took it upon himself to do all the research,” said Natalie. “We support him 100 percent. We have both gotten involved. As long as he stays on the honor rolle, whatever he wants do is ok with me.”
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