The bull riding community is still grieving four days after an accident killed one of its youngest. Over the weekend, 16-year-old Peyton Jackson was trampled during a competition at the Muskogee Fairgrounds. The News On 6's Chris Wright reports bull riders don't pretend that their sport is not, at times, dangerous. But, one local group is actually trying to keep kids safe by putting them on a bull.
The tragedy at the Muskogee Fairgrounds unfolded in just a few seconds Saturday night. Peyton Jackson of Alma, Arkansas was bucked, and then trampled by his bull. Only a few days later, one of the teenagers who was there, Evan Allard, is back out practicing in Locust Grove.
"Sure I feel responsible in a way, but then again it was just something that happened. Not a lot I can do," said bull fighter Evan Allard.
Evan protects members of the Junior Bull Riders Association. The group hosts rodeos, and helps hone the skills of riders, from the very young to the more seasoned teenagers.
"It just means everything. It's what I want to be when I grow up. I just want to bull ride the rest of my life," said bull rider Laramie Fabela.
Ben Johnson founded the Junior Bull Riders Association. He says while the sport will always be dangerous, safety is a top concern. Riders wear helmets, safety vests and mouthpieces. And, Ben believes riding keeps kids out of trouble.
"We don't allow no alcohol at our events. No cussing, a good clean, safe environment for the kids to grow up at is what we're trying to do," said Ben Johnson of the Junior Bull Riders Association.
While Peyton Jackson was not part of their association, the junior bull riders say it's difficult when any rider dies. But, they're sure Peyton would want them to keep riding.
"It was very rare, but it's a sad thing and we hate to see it happen. It's tough. You lose one of your own bull riders," said Ben Johnson of the Junior Bull Riders Association.
The Junior Bull Riders Association also holds regular rodeos of its own. Its next one will take place on Sunday, January 27th at the Creek County Fairgrounds.