CRENSHAW CO., AL (WSFA) - Cowboys are tough and courageous. It takes a lot of guts to get on a 1,000-pound animal and see if you can hang on, especially when you're only nine-years-old.
"The bulls are all big now," said junior rodeo cowboy Colton Carpenter.
Is he ever scared? "Nope. Never have been, never will be," Carpenter said.
It may sound like just big words from a little man, but I'm pretty sure he believes it. As for his dad, who competed in rodeo as well.
"It has been giving me a heart attack for years," said Kelly Carpenter, Colton's dad.
Kelly describes the first time Colton showed an interest in rodeo. He was at an event, briefly lost track of his son, and then saw him in line to ride on the back of a sheep. Colton was just two and half years old!
"They opened the gate and he rode out there. I actually had to pull him off. He wouldn't let go." Kelly Carpenter said.
Colton has been riding ever since.
"He's been a six-time qualifier for the Youth Bull Rider Association," Carpenter said.
They practice a lot a home. They have several training devices so they can put in work without needing any animals. It's a great way to work on technique and you don't need nearly as many people to help out. Colton plays football and does martial arts too, but dad says there's something special about rodeo.
"It teaches him discipline. You have to keep up with your gear when you're bull riding. You have to keep up with your horse if you're calf roping or team roping."
So what does Colton enjoy the most?
"Fun and money," Colton said.
Well, that about sums it up. He's doing both, collecting belt buckles, trophies, even cash along the way, and he won't be 10 until October