County pair places near top at world bull riding competition
Valencia County riders Quentin Wimberley and Zaylon Zamora finished fifth and seventh at the Young Bull Riders international competition in Abilene, Texas, in early August
Fellow Tomé residents Brandon Gipson and Quentin’s younger brother Travis both came in 14th in the week-long competition. All four are expected to compete at the Valencia County Fair Rodeo this weekend in Belen.
“It was exciting for me because there were a lot of people there,” said Quentin, who as a junior rider rode bulls in the competition. “There was some pressure but it was really fun to know that you were there, at the world finals. After awhile, you don’t really worry about nerves, you just worry about winning.”
Zamora, who rode sheep in the mutton bustin’ competition, said he also had an exciting time in Abilene.
“It was pretty fun,” said the 6-year-old. “I was a little nervous.”
Zamora’s father, Marcos, said he thought otherwise.
“He said he got nervous, but I’ve seen him more nervous around here,” the elder Zamora said. “It’s a pretty intense rodeo. It was the real deal, for youth.”
Zaylon Zamora, who rode with 49 other riders, was in 10th place after the first day and slipped to 22nd on day two. On day three, the younger Zamora finished in 20th, getting him into the short-round finals.
“What got him to the circle was being consistent and making it to the buzzer on his rides,” said Marcos Zamora. “It was him being consistent, making the buzzer in all three rides. Him making the buzzer means a lot in a three-round deal like that. That’s where I was really proud of him.
“When we got to that third ride, I thought ‘We can do this. We have a chance.’”
With 75 other riders in his event, Wimberley said he too was focused on being consistent with his rides. Sitting in fifth place after the first day, he moved up three spots to second on day two.
But Wimberley was bucked off on day three, which knocked him down the list, but didn’t keep him from riding in the short-round finals, as he finished 10th going into the final ride.
“My hand popped out of my rope,” he said. “I was real nervous because if I bucked off (in the short round) there were other kids who’d cover and take my spot. I just said to myself. ‘You have to make this ride if you want the buckle.’ It was pretty intense.”
Both Marcos Zamora and Quentin’s father, Nathan Wimberley, said some of the credit for the high placements of all four Valencia County riders comes from the top-notch bulls raised in the county, which Quentin and Travis Wimberley both could practice on before heading to Abilene.
“We’ve been here 3 1//2, four years, and they raise some of the best bulls in the country right here,” said Nathan Wimberley. “Some of the top bulls in the (Pro Bull Riders) events are from here. And these guys get to ride them for practice. That’s big.”
With their high showings behind them now, both Zaylon and Quentin will now move on more big competitions — Zaylon to the American Youth Bull Riding Finals in Ignacio, Colo., in late November and Quentin and Travis to the National Bull Riders finals in Las Vegas, Nev., in early December after getting invited following the YBR finals in Abilene.
“I just want to keep riding,” said Wimberley. “The score doesn’t matter. As long as you’re riding, you’re on top. Consistency makes champions, that’s what my dad says. As long as you’re riding, you’re going to make it to the top.”