The spotlight was at its brightest. Pressure was intense.
Tarren Calhoun, however, didn't flinch.
The Hot Sulphur Springs cowboy rode the bull Battle Shot to a score of 83 and won the short-go last Saturday in the senior boys bull riding event at the National Little Britches Finals Rodeo at the Colorado State Fairgrounds.
"I just went out there and was loose and calm and rode up to my capabilities," the 18-year-old Calhoun said. "That ride felt really good."
Calhoun had even more reason to smile since his effort at the NLBFR vaulted him into second place in the National Little Britches Rodeo Association final senior boys bull riding world standings.
Allen Auer and Logan McDermott are first and third in the standings, respectively.
More importantly, those three cowboys qualified to ride during the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas. They will be joined by Lance Farner, Collin Ervin and Shane O'Connell - the top three junior boy bull riders in the NLBRA world standings - at the World Finals.
This is the first year that the PBR, which is headquartered in
Pueblo, has teamed up with the NLBRA to send bull riders to its prestigious World Finals.
"That's exactly what I wanted was to be able to go to Vegas," said Calhoun, who graduated from West Grand High School in the spring.
The 5-foot-11, 145-pound Calhoun actually was the best bull rider this past week as he won the senior boys bull riding event at the NLBFR with a 227 score on three rides.
"There's nothing like the rush you get from riding bulls and there's nothing else I would rather do," said Calhoun, who was making his second appearance at the NLBFR.
The biggest winners this past week were Wyatt Clark (senior boys), Amberly Snyder (senior girls), E. Hunter Brasfield (junior boys), Skylar Eagles (junior girls) and Kash Cattoor (Little Wranglers), who all won their respective world all-around championships.
Eagles is a Southern Colorado product who resides in Center, and she capped a memorable week Saturday.
She easily won the world crown in junior girls breakaway roping and was second and third in the world in junior girls trail course and junior girls goat tying, respectively. Rocky Ford's Brianna Denton also was crowned the world champion in the Little Wranglers goat tail untying event and she finished in third place in the Little Wranglers all-around world standings.