Rodeo—it's in his blood


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November 10, 2016 12:00 AM

RIDE 'EM COWBOY Young Lloydminster bareback rider, Colt Hillis, will be in Las Vegas soon to test his skills against other riders in a national competition. SUPPLIED PHOTOS

Young Lloyd rider off to Vegas to compete in national competition

For nine year old Colt Hillis, rodeo runs in his blood.
Just like older brother Gage did last year, Hillis is going to the Junior National Finals in Las Vegas, where he’ll compete in miniature bareback riding against roughly 77 other kids from across North America.
“We were at the finals in Edson, Alta., and I rode my little bucking horse, Double Bucker, and I qualified,” Hillis said.
“I’m excited.”
Hillis’s mother, Michealene, said the young cowboy had to qualify for a series of events throughout the summer, before making it to the Canadian Cup in September in Edson.
It was there Hillis ended up winning the short go and earning his spot in Las Vegas, which he’ll be packing his bags for on Nov. 27.
“Last year it was the World’s Miniature Bareback finals, which is still part of Junior NFR, so it’s like the National Finals Rodeo that they have in Vegas, especially the same time, except it’s for kids competing in rodeo events that are 12 and under, so it’s just young kids who are doing the same as adults,” said Michealene.
“He’s really excited and I think, being the younger brother too, his older brother has always been really successful, so for him to qualify this year, he’s just over the moon.”
Last year was the first year riders from Canada competed and Hillis’s brother Gage walked away 14th in the world.
Michealene added the event is particularly exciting because organizers try to get the kids pumped up using a professional announcer, and this year the number of competitors has doubled as the event is gaining traction with Canadian kids.
Hillis, who’s been riding horses for the last couple of years, was introduced to miniature bareback last year and dove head first into the sport, spending the last two consecutive summers on the back of his little bucking horse.
“He thinks it’s fun and the kids are fun and just the whole atmosphere, it’s a big family,” said Michealene.
To top it all off, Hillis volunteered to sing the Canadian national anthem at the Junior NFR, which will likely draw a hefty crowd of spectators.
“He’s pretty excited,” Michealene said.
“There will be thousands of people, especially held at the Las Vegas Convention Centre, but he doesn’t seem too worried about it,” she laughed.

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