News

Simcoe teen advances from steer to bull riding

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer

Simcoe's Ben Peever, 17, recently graduated from steer riding to the bull riding ranks. The Simcoe Composite School student will compete at a number of rodeos this season, including the National High School Finals Rodeo July 15-21 in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Contributed Photo

Simcoe's Ben Peever, 17, recently graduated from steer riding to the bull riding ranks. The Simcoe Composite School student will compete at a number of rodeos this season, including the National High School Finals Rodeo July 15-21 in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Contributed Photo

SIMCOE  - 

Simcoe's Ben Peever is taking the bull by the horns.

Over the last few years, the 17-year-old Simcoe Composite School student has become a well-known and decorated steer rider at competitions in Ontario, Quebec and the U.S., but Peever began taking on a new challenge partway through last season.

He stepped up to the bull riding division – an activity that some claim is the most intense sport on the planet.

“It's always been a plan to move forward with it but it's like learning all over again, everything is fast again and it just takes time,” said Peever. “It's hard in Ontario because you can't really (practise) much through the week like they can down in the States.”

To gain experience, Peever and his family have regularly headed to Michigan and Kentucky during the winter months.

Having dislocated his elbow the very first time he tried steer riding, Peever wasn't at all apprehensive about sitting atop an 1,800-pound bull with bad intentions.

“There wasn't much worry,” he says calmly. “I knew about the challenges of moving up and the danger side of it. The steers stepped on you and they're doing the same damage, that's part of the sport. Like the guys say, 'it's not if you get hurt it's when and how bad,' so that wasn't really a factor. It was all about keeping up, going for it and staying healthy.”

The first thing Peever learned about bull riding was to keep moving.

“A lot of people say it's like a dancing partner, they make a move and you've got to make a move,” Peever explained.

“Riding steers you can kind of hang on the side and use your strength to get (upright) but you're never going to out-power an 1,800-pound bull so you've got to be in the right spot and if you're not you've got to keep moving. As soon as you stop moving they're going to whip you down.”

It's common for most riders in his position to take on a lesser schedule, but Peever is looking at this upcoming season as a chance to learn by doing. His biggest event is the National High School Finals Rodeo July 15-21 in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

“I'm not going to slow down any,” he said. “You see a lot of kids when they move up they slow down and try to get confidence built, but I've been talking to some guys and I think, for me, that's the worst thing to do. I want to get on as many bulls as possible and going up to Quebec, the bull power is stronger but the better bulls you get on the better you're going to be.”

During his spare time Peever plays hockey and football but, for him, nothing compares to rodeo.

“I've always been a fan of the sport and the camaraderie you have with the group of guys you travel with,” he said. “You travel with four or five guys you ride against but (one of them is) right there helping you and whether you just made a nice ride or got stepped on, you're doing everything you can to help him do the same thing literally 30 seconds after ... It's like a family going down the road.”

jrobinson@postmedia.com