Organized physical activity is influential in building character, especially in our children. It teaches them to both excel and manage defeat. Under proper supervision, kids learn sportsmanship, manners, to take care of their bodies, how to conduct themselves with dignity and how to respect others.
Mutton busting is an ideal venue for showing our children the best ways to behave and the vast possibilities they have to succeed. Mutton busting is sheep riding, with the bronco buster being between the age of four and seven.
Now, before you start screaming for child services, we’re talking about a crowd-pleasing event that gives our youngest cowboys and cowgirls a chance to experience the thrill they imagine must run through the professional rodeo riders they so admire. Except, instead of livestock made of up strong, angry bulls, these youngsters jump on a sheep.
It’s a wonderful opportunity. Much like their professional counterparts, these children step into the chute. The music begins to thump. The onlookers get to their feet and roar. For a few seconds, these kids are superstars, holding on for as long as they can before being flung. It’s rodeo – wool riding – every bit as intense as the big boys. There may be a trophy. There may be disappointment. But every kid gets a chance to shine.
Even as these events grow in popularity, there is some debate about wool riding being dangerous and abusive. But every precaution is taken to ensure participants are safe. They are trained the same way pro riders are. The child has to wear a helmet. Spurs are not allowed in the event to minimize the possibility of a child or animal getting hurt. No child is involved without their parent’s consent. Unlike bulls and horses, sheep do not buck. They merely run around while the child hangs on, having the time of their lives. Their chances of staying on can be as difficult as the pros. And for the riders that hold out, there are prizes, awards and ribbons. Best of all, for every rider there’s the audience’s roar of approval.
Sheep riding, mutton busting, wool riding or whatever you choose to call it, it’s giving our kids a chance to live a dream. And just like pee-wee football or any other sport, sheep riding is showing our kids how good sportsmanship is an important part of character and the great rewards that come with it.
CLN Community & Event Sponsor