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COLUMBIA - In the words of country star Garth Brooks, "It's the bulls, the blood, the dust, the mud, the roar of the crowd."

It's not your typical athletic event.

"Ya always get hurt. It's just a matter of how bad. I've been stepped on and kicked a couple of times," rodeo rider Hawk Harris said.

On the weekends from March to June, Hickman High School senior Hawk Harris travels around Missouri for his favorite sport: Bull riding.

"I got into bull riding because my dad was a bull rider, and it was something I always wanted to do. My dad and I would go over, you know, what I need to work on, and he'll practice with me," Harris explained.

Many people don't realize that it takes more than just an eight-second ride to impress the judges.

"Half your score comes from how good the bull performs, whether he bucks or spins, and the other half is based on what the rider does. You gotta be able to think quickly so you can react in a matter of seconds," Harris said.

Because of Harris's involvement in rodeo while in high school, he's got the chance to take his bull riding skills to the next level.

Three Rivers Community College in Joplin, Mo., and Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Oklahoma have both offered Harris a spot on their rodeo teams.

Harris hasn't decided if he wants to pursue rodeo in college, but he likes having the opportunity.
Harris says he knows he's college-bound, he just needs to see where that ride will take him.