Gage the Kid ready to ride

By Geoff Lee

December 3, 2015 2:44 PM

Gage Hillis will head to Las Vegas this weekend to compete in the World Minitaure Bareback Championships.

Gage Hillis the Kid is a cowboy in the making.
The 10 year-old cowboy from Lloydminster will compete in the World Miniature Bareback Championship this weekend in Las Vegas.
He’ll go against other cowboy kids with great first names outta the old west like Chance, Ryder, Wyatt and Colton.
Gage qualified for the world’s as one of six Canadians with a winning six second ride during the Alberta Miniature Bareback Finals held in late October.
Heck, his twin sister Cody was also the female to qualify for the provincials. His younger eight year-old brother Colt and his four year-old sister Allie also got into the act at the finals.
Gage was the one who moved on to qualify for the worlds.
We caught up with the Hillis family on Wednesday at the Vancouver airport where Gage sounded pretty stoked on the phone when asked if he was excited.
“Ya, I hope I do pretty good,” he said before passing the phone to his mom Michealene.
“It’s pretty crazy. We’re actually in the Vancouver airport right now,” she said with more explaining to do,
Michealene said that Gage will ride on Saturday with the top 12 kids moving on the second round.
She said it’s just like regular bareback riding except they are using smaller horses – ponies.
The kid cowboys need to stay on for six seconds with half the points scored from the animal and half from the rider just like the grownups do.
At the world’s, the kids will ride bareback in two categories with about 25 competitors in the nine and under group and the same number in the 10 to 13 age bracket that Gage is in.
Gage said if he wins the top prize money he’ll use it for college noting he is currently in Grade 5 at Barr Colony School.
Some of his friends and classmates might be able to watch him on Ride TV, an America cable channel.
“They were super excited. They all got behind him pretty good,” said his dad Kevin.
Kevin used to do some bull riding as a member of the Canadian Cowboys Association among other rodeo groups and is proud of Gage going to the world’s.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” he said noting bareback is no piece of cake.       
“It’s probably the roughest event there is. It’s hard on a guy’s shoulders and his arms,” he said speaking from experience.
Asked what makes Gage this good so young, Kevin put it down to true grit.
“He tries hard. He’s just gritty. He tries and won’t quit,” he said. 
He noted that four year-old Allie is an up and comer too who is already riding some sheep.             
Kevin puts beans on the table with his own company Hillis Construction that does framing for Homes to Go in Lloydminster.

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