"You put a child 55 pounds and under between the ages of 5 and 6 on this wild animal and let them run down the dirt path," Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Mutton Bustin' Committee member Eric Berger said. "Let ‘em hang on for dear life!"
There’s definitely nothing like it.
"It’s one of those events everyone knows," Berger said.
On Tuesday, 6-year-old David gave it a try. He managed to hang on until the end, getting a 90 from the judges.
But his 5-year-old sister, Courtney, wasn’t about to let him have all the fun. She rode next, holding on tight and flipping onto the back wall when the sheep hit it. Offering volunteers a high five and a smile as she hopped up and walked away, she learned her score: 98.
David admitted he and his little sister are a bit competitive, which became clear when he saddled up for a second ride.
"It was fun," he said.
In the end, brother and sister tied, both claiming silver buckles.
"It’s a memory that will last a lifetime for them," Berger said.
He offered up some tips for any other competitive kids out there.
"Best thing is stay right in the center of that sheep and grab on that wool and don’t let go," Berger said. "And just have fun!"
Based on some of the dismounts you witness watching each run, that may be easier for the audience than the rider, though.
"Best part of the rodeo," Berger said.
It costs $15 for each child to ride. Shows run every hour between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily throughout the Rodeo.