By Darrell Todd Maurina
When Silver Burney of Wilford, Texas, got into the saddle Monday evening at the Little Buckaroo Rodeo, his mother knew he’d been training hard since taking up riding a few weeks ago.
But Sandra Burney never expected her 10-year-old son to take first place in the egg-and-spoon race, his first rodeo event since deciding to quit hockey and start riding horses. The event requires a rider to both walk and trot a horse in circles without dumping the contents of the spoon.
“It’s lots of hard work, but we’re very proud of him and he’s a real good kid,” Sandra Burney said.
Stories like that are what the organizers of the Little Buckaroos Rodeo want to see. Part of Clovis’ annual Pioneer Days event that includes professional rodeo events, the Little Buckaroos Rodeo for boys and girls up to 13 is designed to introduce people to riding sports.
Chelsi Dickerson, the current Miss Teen Rodeo in New Mexico, said she loves to see new people at events.
“It keeps a child busy and keeps them motivated,” Dickerson said. “If a person is involved in an event like this, it will keep them out of trouble. People involved in hobbies are likely to have better grades and less likely to get in trouble.”
“(Rodeos) become like a family, everyone looks out for each other’s kids,” Dickerson said.
Silver Burney agreed. “I thought it was really neat that all those people came down to help us kids learn,” he said.
Sandra Burney said that while horses have been a family tradition for years, she was glad her son found a mentor, 19-year-old Trey Ainsworth from Milnesand, to get him involved in riding after dropping the sport six years ago for hockey.
“I grew up on a ranch, and we’ve always been cowboys,” Ainsworth said. “We’ve been here for quite a few generations, since my dad’s grand-dad. They came on a wagon from Texas, and the wagon broke down and that was where they stayed.”
Ainsworth said Silver Burney has a good horse and will do well.
“The horse will teach him,” said Ainsworth.