HOUSTON — Anthony Thomas has come a long way to make Houston his home and is hopeful NRG Stadium can provide a home-field advantage at this year's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

The 32-year-old originally from Australia ran away from home at age 12 in search of a better life. He found it on the cattle ranches.

Thomas dreamed of being a rodeo cowboy in America from a very young age, saying he had a feeling from God that he needed to be with horses.

“To be the only Houston local rodeo athlete competing in the rodeo, man, it fires me up,” Thomas said.

To have his family friends training partners and church coming to watch him ride is exciting.

Thomas is hopeful that he can use his ride and his name to raise awareness for his AT Horse Power Foundation to help kids find the love and joy that he has found in rodeo.

“If I can help one kid become a rodeo athlete, or find a life more than they know, then that is what will really make me feel successful," he said.

While he is hopeful to win the gold buckle, he knows there is more out there for him.

“Gold buckles fade, and money goes away, but if you can form a legacy and help someone out and help the next generation to carry on what we’ve had, then you’re really succeeding," he said.

Anthony will ride March 6 to March 8 in hopes of advancing onto the final at the end of the rodeo.