Young cowboy takes daring ride (video)
Oct. 19, 2013 at 5:19 a.m.
YORKTOWN - Young Dillon Franek kicks his tawny, leather boots through the dirt surrounding his feet. There is only one child in front of him at the gate enclosing a pit filled with dirt and mutton - and he looks scared.
The faint wails of a little blonde girl who was just wildly bucked off her sheep lingers in the air, and Dillon's shoulders rise as he takes a deep breath and then shrinks back into his small frame.
This is it.
No turning back.
His father adjusts Dillon's dark stone denim Wrangler shirt and laughs, "You gotta look good."
Five-year-old Dillon looks up with his big, blue eyes and swears that he won't cry. After all, he's been practicing on the big chocolate labs at his family farm in Louise.
A boy behind the fence bullies an unruly and stubborn mutton through a wooden kick door, and Dillon is placed on top of it.
"Wrap your arms around him," his dad hollers out.
The door jerks open.
A man swats the mutton.
It bucks once.
It bucks twice.
And then off it goes with Dillon holding on for dear life.
A couple seconds later, Dillon is on the ground, but his father still beams with pride, and his mother roars with cheers from the crowd.
Judges gave Dillon an overall score of five points.
About 100 children competed in the Mutton Bustin' event early Saturday afternoon during Western Days.
The four-day festival began Thursday and runs through Sunday, offering attendees a full-scale carnival, free entertainment from street performers, such as the South Texas Gun Slingers and the Sahawe Indian Dancers, as well as live music by several Texas country rockers.
Proceeds from the event benefit area nonprofit organizations, community and youth activities, youth scholarships and programs such as Project Graduation and Shattered Dreams, as well as the acquisition and distribution of educational literature, said executive director Tammy Bitterly.
Dillon's mother said this was the first year she and her family attended the festival and recently learned about it from her husband's co-workers at the Lowe's Home Improvement store in Victoria.
After looking at the rooster of events, she knew the sheep riding event was perfect for her twin sons; however, only Dillon decided to compete.
"He was ready," she said. "He's a cowboy at heart."