'Good ride cowboy'
Sep 10, 2010 (St. Joseph News-Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
As his freshman year at Central High School begins, 14-year-old Colt Humbard looks forward to one important, exciting step -- high school division rodeo.
Colt, who recently completed his junior high school rodeo trek with a slot in the national finals in Gallup, N.M., officially begins the 2011 rodeo season Sept. 25. He's been riding horses and roping calf dummies since age 3.
"Competition is a lot tougher in high school," Colt said. "I'm really excited for this year and just hope to keep going."
Colt was named Missouri state champion team roper header and champion ribbon roper and the fifth-place qualifier in chute dogging. He earned a position on the Missouri national junior high rodeo team, traveling with teammates to Gallup. More than 1,000 young riders competed, and Colt finished 33rd.
Throughout his junior high rodeo years, Colt received about 18 belt buckles for achievements. His mother, Kim, and father, Jeff, traveled throughout Missouri, Kansas, and even to New Mexico for the competitions.
"It is definitely worth it," Mr. Humbard said. "It's fun, but he also learns a lot of responsibility taking care of his horses. It takes a lot of time and dedication."
Colt, who also plays football, as well as violin in Central's orchestra, competes in three rodeo organizations.
"Some people like to hit in football, some people like to run in track. But there is just something about (the rodeo) that's addicting," Colt said. "I get to meet a lot of people, and I really like to travel."
Mrs. Humbard's family owns a ranch in Goodwell, Okla., which spurred Colt's interest in rodeos. At a young age, Colt wanted to be a cowboy.
"When he was in kindergarten, he always wore jeans and cowboy boots to school," his mother said. "Soon, I saw other kids dressed in jeans and cowboy boots, too."
National rodeo entrants compete for more than $75,000 in prizes and more than $80,000 in college scholarships. Although Colt is unsure where his hobby will take him, his father said he hopes his son's passion and skill translates to a college scholarship.
"I finished this (last season) pretty well," Colt said. "For high school, I'd really like to go to nationals in team roping, and my goal is to land on the short-go at finals (the top 20 contestants)."
Kristin Hoppa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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