English grabs 10th at Jr. bull riding event

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Zack English of LaHarpe displays his trophy buckles from his bull riding competitions this season. He was the Kansas Junior Bullriders Association champion in his age division. That qualified him for the 2009 Youth Bull Riders World Finals last week where he finished 10th in the Jr. Bulls (15-and-under) competition.
Courtesy photo
Zack English rides a bull in KJBA event at Fort Scott.

Bull riding is his game and Zack English is his name.
English is becoming an old hand at bull riding at the ripe ole age of 15. While Allen County Fair goers were watching rodeo action here last week, English was deep in rodeo country competing in the 2009 Youth Bull Riders World Finals in Fort Worth, Texas.
“You have three rounds of qualifying rides and I was able to ride one bull out of three so I made it into the short go (round),” English said.
The short go is the final round of competition as the top 10 riders in the Jr. Bulls Division compete. English said he was 10th going into the finals out of 64 contestants.
“He told me he didn’t want to ride first but as the 10th placed rider, he was first up in the finals,” said Shawn English, Zack’s father. “I told him he could put pressure on the nine guys ahead of him if he stayed on his bull.”
English stayed aboard the bull he drew in the finals for 6.76 seconds of the required eight-second ride. His first experience at the YBR World Finals came to an end a week ago in the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth.
“It was a great experience,” English said. “I won the Kansas Jr. Bullriders Association (KJBA) Winter Series to qualify for the world finals. I just like riding bulls. It’s fun and a challenge.”
English, who is a sophomore at Marmaton Valley High School in Moran this year, started his roughstock riding career in the mutton busting. He moved up to calves, to steers then to bulls. The “junior” bulls for riders 15-and-under are supposed to weigh less than the “senior” bulls, which are riden by 21-and-under contestants.
“But they had some pretty good-sized bulls for us,” English said. “I just get on, wrap my hand and focus on the bull. You try to keep up with the bull and his movements out there and stay centered.”
In the KJBA and the YBR competitions, there are events for mutton busting, calf riding, junior steers, senior steers, junior bulls and senior bulls. In the the Kansas organization, there are competitions for young bronc riders, ages 8 to 21.
English has seen success riding steers and bulls in youth rodeos and in the Kansas Wrangler Junior High School rodeos. He qualified for the Wrangler Junior High School National Championships two years.
“I didn’t do too well at nationals but I’m looking forward to competing in the high school rodeos and continue to go to the KJBA events,” English said.
He said his goal was to do well enough to go to a college with rodeo as a sport such as Fort Scott Community College. There is no doubt English would like to continue his improvement through practice at home near LaHarpe and competition to move up in the professional ranks someday.
English is the son of Shawn and Sheila English of LaHarpe.
English said he wanted to thank all of his sponsors. He had sponsors from Iola, Fort Scott and Piqua.
“Without them I wouldn’t have been able to compete. I really appreciate the businesses and family members who helped me out,” English said.