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Bareback riding Tucsonan ready to ride

Posted at 4:41 PM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 21:42:01-05

The 92nd Annual 'La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros' kicks off this weekend.

Preparations are underway for the big event. Vendors set up tents, trucks were unloaded, and livestock arrived at the rodeo grounds.
 
Let us introduce you to one local rider.
 
Since Rio Lee was young, his family expected him to join the rodeo circuit.
 
"It was in my blood," says Rio.
 
He started riding horses and at 13, he began bareback riding. 
"My whole family rodeos. My dad rides saddle bronc, barebacks, and he bull rides," said Rio. 
 
The now 20-year-old bareback rider has competed in high school and amateur rodeos. He won the 2015 high school rodeo championship. 
 
 
Lee now heads to the Tucson Rodeo for the second time.
 
Many people are curious about bareback bronc riding, and Lee explains to KGUN 9 how it works.
 
For many, it may be surprising to learn that cowboys don't choose their bronc. 
 
"As a cowboy, you draw. They put all the horses in a hat, and you draw your horse," said Rio. 
 
Once a cowboy chooses their horse, they climb onto their wild bucking horse in an enclosed area and wait their turn.  
 
When the gate opens, it's show time. 
 
Each competitor has to stay on without touching the horse with their free hand for eight seconds 
 
"How the horse bucks and moves affects how you can ride them. So if it's a better horse you're able to ride them better, they're smoother, faster and more aggressive," said Rio. 
 
The better the horse, the better the chances of winning. But Rio says, if you get a bad draw you'll have to make it work.
 
"A horse that doesn't buck is good, but you really have to make up for it and compensate."
 
That is where techniques carried on by Rio's family comes into play, but his father, Cody Lee says, "putting your kid on a bareback horse about the scariest thing you can do for them." 
 
 
Lee will be competing at the Tucson Rodeo Fairgrounds on Saturday at 2 p.m. 
 
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