By Carole Robinson, Senior Staff Writer
Houston Herbert attempts to stay on this bucking horse for eight seconds at the National High School finals in Wyoming in August. Submitted
Rodeo is in Page High Senior Houston Herbert’s blood.
For years his father, a champion bareback rider, discouraged Houston and his brother from getting rodeo fever by encouraging them to work with beef cattle the family raised.
“I’ve been my father’s right arm man. He taught me how to birth calves and give them their shots,” Houston said.
Although Houston began winning trophies with beef cows when he was just 12 years old, he really wanted something more exciting, so he began to practice on a bucking machine he rigged up with his brother.
Dad gave in and Houston had a go at riding bucking broncos—bareback.
“When I first got started he tried to keep me off. He said I could seriously get injured,” Houston said. That didn’t deter the teen. “Uncle Peter has bucking stock so I could practice.”
With his father’s guidance, Houston learned to hang on to the rigging for dear life, maintain balance and stay in the middle of the saddle, but it’s tough learning to stay on, he admitted.
“If you drag your feet up the horse’s neck it helps to stay on,” the shy, quiet-spoken 17-year old said. “Dad says if you get tucked up there and mashed with your feet, it puts a lift on the riggin. I got bucked off more than I like to say.”
He hit the ground 100 different ways, he said. He also got hung up a couple of times, slammed against the wall and fractured a finger.
“I’m not thinking when riding. It’s all reaction.”
A linebacker on the PHS football team, Houston is accustomed to being bounced around. He hurt a knee playing the game.
His mother Judy said, “When he tackles something, he does it well.”
During his first year on the high school rodeo circuit, Houston, “won a few” events, enough to take him to the finals where he went all the way to win the silver buckle and a new saddle at the state finals.
“When I ride I get an adrenalin rush,” he said. “When I make a good ride there’s no better feeling in the world. I’m still trying to get the hang of it. I don’t think you ever make a perfect ride.”
After he graduates in May 2014, Houston plans to join his brother at the University of Tennessee in the nursing program.
That may come in handy when he gets injured on the IPRA rodeo circuit earning enough points to qualify a ride at the Franklin Rodeo one day.
Posted on: 9/25/2013