'I didn't think I'd be here just yet': Cowboy from Veneta, 14, headed to National Rodeo
VENETA, Ore. - Eight seconds is 8 seconds.
But when you're on the back of a bucking bull or bronco, 8 seconds feels more like 8 hours.
"So crazy and you feel like you're there for a month, but it's just a couple seconds you don't even know what's happening."
Say hello to Mason Stuller, a 14-year-old cowboy from Veneta who's rising as fast as his rides.
"I didn't think I'd be here just yet," said Stuller.
With a regional win in Wyoming, Mason rode his way into the Junior National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas where he'll ride saddle bronc.
What exactly is Saddle Bronc? Stuller explains, "you're on a horse and using a saddle instead of a rope. You're sitting in a saddle and leaning back just a little bit more."
Qualifying did come at a cost, thanks to his ride on Sweet Water Blues. Stuller said, "at Wyoming I was riding a saddle bronc horse and fell off and landed on my hand, broke this one."
Broken bones, concussions, elbow crushed by a 1,200 pound bull - it's part of the risk. Mom may not like it, but Mason says, "everything heals."
With a flashy pink cast, Mason is training for Las Vegas with mentor Clint Wells, a decorated rider himself throughout a 23 year career.
Wells says what makes mason special is something called "try."
"Some people get overwhelmed with fear and the bull or horse jumps hard and throws a lot of power one way and they start looking for a spot to land," Wells said. "But like Mason, with his broken hand and all, he hangs in there and tries like a cowboy."
That "try" is riding Mason towards his dream of being a world champion.
"He's made impressive rides," said Wells, "and made it to impressive places very quickly. So the sky's the limit."
Years of sacrifice, days traveling to rodeos, hours training in the garage, all for that 8 second ride.
The Junior National Finals Rodeo begins in Las Vegas December 7.
Mason is doing some fundraising and looking for corporate sponsors to put a patch on his jacket while he rides.
The family also set up a GoFundMe to help off-set costs.