Stanhope Elmore graduate set to compete in national rodeo finals

Stanhope Elmore graduate set to compete in national rodeo finals

DEATSVILLE, AL (WSFA) - It's the World Series for high school bull riders.

That's how Stanhope Elmore graduate Garrett Hartzog describes the bull riding competition at the 68th annual National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyoming.

Hartzog follows his father's footsteps in bull riding, and his mom knew he was destined to compete at a young age.

He started by riding sheep at age three; a decade-and-a-half later, Garrett is Alabama's state champion and looking to bring home the saddle that declares him national champion.

"I want to be the best in the world," said Hartzog. "In order to be the best, you have to ride the best."

Bull riding is considered one of the most dangerous sports out there, and as Garrett says, "It's man vs. 1800 pounds, I think that's a little more dangerous than a skateboard."

Hopping on the beast day-after-day has given Hartzog his fair share of injuries.

A broken collarbone, calf muscle torn in half, ACL and MCL tears just to name a few, but Hartzog continues to hop on the beast.

"I just want to conquer the bull," said Hartzog. "That's the whole goal of riding bulls, is to beat that bull."

The high school finals features 1,650 contestants from 43 states and is the worlds largest rodeo.

The event begins July 17 and wraps up on the 23.

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