Bullish about the competition

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Four Valencia County bull riders will be competing for top prizes during the sixth annual Youth Bull Riders at the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene, Texas, Wednesday, Aug. 7 through Saturday, Aug. 10.

Submitted photo: FOUR VALENCIA COUNTY bull riders will represent New Mexico at the sixth annual international Youth Bull Riders Finals in Abilene, Texas. The riders, left to right, are Brandon Gipson, Quentin Wimberley, Travis Wimberley and Zaylon Zamora.

According to its website, www.ybrnow.com, YBR is “the largest and richest youth bull riding association in the world,” a nonprofit organization that boasts 300-plus youth riders ages 4 through 19. The YBR Finals culls its riders from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Australia.

County bull riders Brandon Gipson, Quentin Wimberley, Travis Wimberley, Zaylon Zamora, all residents of Tomé, will be participating in the four-day event. Competition will start with three preliminary rounds on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, followed by the Short Round finals on Saturday.

The competition is broken into six events and age groups, all for boys and girls — mutton bustin’ (sheep) ages 4 through 6; calf riding, for ages 8 and under; junior riding, ages 10 and under; senior riding, ages 15 and under; and bull riding for ages 19 and under.

Gipson, 17, who will ride in the bull riding category, was born in Albuquerque and attends Valencia High School. He has ridden for five years, taking his first ride in 2008 at a friend’s house.

Gipson said he can’t remember how many top three finishes he’s had in his career so far, but said he’d won 27 events, his most memorable being his 78-point bull ride at a recent New Mexico Rodeo Association in Bosque Farms. He said in addition to bull riding, he’s also involved in bullfighting.

“I want to ride as best I can, and ride all three bulls in hopes to making the short go,” he said of his hopes for the YBR Finals.

Gipson said he dreams of going to the Professional Bull Riders finals one day and becoming a world champion.

Quentin Wimberley, 13, is a junior rider and has ridden for three years. Born in Springfield, Ill., Quentin now attends Valencia Middle School and got his start riding with his family.

Starting his career in the Bernalillo Open 4-H Rodeo in 2010, he’s since earned 23 first-place buckles and 105 top-three finishes. He’s won the Baca Series championship as well as the Freddie Torres Memorial Rodeo championship, the Champ Logg’s Pee Wee Bullriding title and the Quemado Youth Bull Riding Championship.

Quentin said he hopes to ride consistently at this week’s YBR finals and would like to eventually ride in the Professional Bull Riders Finals.

“I’d like to be a world champion one day,” he said.

Quentin’s younger brother, Travis, 9, a calf rider, was also born in Springfield, Ill. He attends Bosque Farms Elementary School and has been riding for three years.

Like his brother, Travis got his start riding with his family and took his first ride at the Bernalillo Open 4-H Rodeo in 2010, Since then, he’s earned 25 first-place buckles, around 40 top-three finishes and 40 top-10 finishes in his short career.

“I was the Megabucks champ , Freddie Torres Memorial champ, Logg’s Steer-riding champ and finished reserve national champ in Ignacio, Colo.,” Travis Wimberly said.

Like Gipson and Quentin, he said he hopes to become a top rider in the Professional Bull Riders finals.

“I want to bring a world title back to New Mexico,” he said.

At 6 years old, Zamora is the youngest of the quartet. In the mutton bustin’ category, he’s been riding sheep for three years. Born in Albuquerque, Zamora attends Tomé Elementary School.

“I saw my dad’s bull-riding picture and wanted to ride bulls,” he said, “He told me I needed to ride sheep first.”

Beginning with his first ride at a rode in Reserve when he was 2, Zamora has managed 27 top-three finishes, including 14 first-place finishes. His second- place finish at a recent rodeo in Window Rock, Ariz., qualified him for the YBR world finals.

Zamora also recently won the Cibola County Gymkhana Rodeo Series’ championship and currently leads with Mountainaire Gymkhana Series.

As for his chances at the YBR finals, Zamora said he needs to “keep my mind in the game and try hard to win.”

He still aspires to ride bulls some day as well.

“I want to finish riding sheep, then ride calves, then steers, then bulls,” he said. “Dad says well see about that.

If You Go:
What: The sixth annual Youth Bull Riders Finals
When: Wednesday, Aug. 7, through Saturday, Aug. 10
Where: Taylor County Expo Center, Abilene, Texas
Online: www.ybrnow.com for results and information.