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Brothers prove Indian rodeo can be a family event
The Jackson brothers from Goodfish Lake want one day to be world champions in the sport of bull riding. But for now they will be developing their skills in the steer riding event.
Ricky-Lee, 15, Blake, 14, and Tate 11 took part last month in the Fort McMurray Tour North Rodeo, a North American Indian Rodeo Association event.
“This was my first time in competition,” said Tate. “We practice by riding on a barrel at home and this is a lot different. I was a bit scared and a little bit nervous but it was fun. I think I stayed on for two seconds.”
“When I was eight or so, my dad asked if we wanted to join rodeo and so I tried it out,” recalled Blake, who was the first of the brothers to catch the rodeo bug. “I remember riding my first steer ‘Crime Spree’ it was an adrenaline rush. There is nothing like riding the steer. I’m not scared of riding and it is one of the toughest sports.”
Ricky-Lee believes in the near future that he will make the jump to riding bulls.
“I am not old enough for bulls yet and I don’t think I am ready for it. I need more experience with getting my footing right and more experience before I can go into bull riding. You have to have good balance and leg power to squeeze him. Most of it is mental as you have to focus and pump yourself up,” he said. “I used to be sacred but not anymore. Keep square on your chest and keep it out as you need a lot of chest, and keep your legs tight.”
Asked what was easier, riding a steer or getting into the usual squabble or fight that most young brothers may do, there was a pause and then Tate piped up, “Riding the bull.”
All three Jackson boys laughed.
The (Jackson brothers) are our future bull riders,” said NAIRA president Sandra Merchant. “They are the next generation. To get to the bulls they have to show the ability and aggressiveness and capability and then they can graduate.”
The brothers were among 85 competitors in Fort McMurray, she said, adding that the NAIRA will be holding a Canadian Indians Rodeo final in September.
NAIRA is one of several Aboriginal rodeo associations in Western Canada, which includes the Prairie Indian Rodeo Association, Reservation Rodeo Cowboys Association and Western Indian Rodeo & Exhibition Association. The NAIRA is a stepping stone to the ultimate goal of competing at the 8th International Indians Final Rodeo to be held Sept. 13-16, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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