(SHAWNEE, Okla.)  Hunter Ramsey from El Dorado, Arkansas, came to the 2019 International Finals Youth Rodeo in Shawnee, Oklahoma, to defend his 2018 Bareback Riding Championship. He took second in bareback the two years prior to that.

“The IFYR is probably the coolest rodeo that any high school kid could go to,” said the 17 year old who is only the second one from Arkansas to win the bareback riding at the IFYR.

There are 16 young men contending for the title this year.

“The IFYR opens a lot of doors for us; it got my name out there for a lot of Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association judges and college coaches,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey plans to attend Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma, completing his courses online, working towards a degree as a physical therapist assistant.

He has been entering every rodeo he can in west Texas and across the country and preparing with a daily workout routine, plus healthy eating- strictly grilled food and lots of water. His goal is to make a run for the Resistol PRCA Rookie of the Year in 2021 and win the world that same year.

“I had a lot of motivation from dad (Keith), who critiques all my rides, and travels with me,” said Ramsey. “We’ve been on the road for two weeks, entering 14 rodeos. He drives me to be the best I can be. He has shown me that once you get your focus on what you want to do, it will work.”

Three time PRCA bareback champion, Tim O’Connell has helped him too – he made that connection by being part of the Bloomer team. This is Ramsey’s second year on the team and he has made lots of memories and friends through that.

“The support we get from each other and the doors it opens for us is amazing,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey doesn’t participate in high school rodeo; however, he competes in the amateur associations around Arkansas and Louisiana. He has been the bareback champion in the Arkansas Rodeo Association

-10-

for three years, winning his first championship when he was 13. He’s leading the United Professional Rodeo Association standings now by $6,000. Hunter started his rodeo career riding bulls when he was 7. He added bareback riding in 2010, winning the All Around in the Louisiana Rodeo Cowboys Association in 2015.

“My dad is old school, and he started me with a bull riding glove and his riggin’ – I could fit both my hands in it,” he recalls. “I got on at a lot of amateur rodeos where I got kicked in the head and blown out more than I covered. That taught me to ride with my feet.”

Before each ride, he stays calm.

“I don’t over think it – just let my body do what it’s trained to do,” said Ramsey. “Remember, it’s just another mare’s colt you’re getting on. Keep God and family close – that will get you further than any training session will.”