Markus Mariluch has been focused on bull riding since he was a little boy riding sheep in the mutton busting event in junior rodeos, says his mother, Denise. And his passion for the sport has paid off.
When school begins at Feather River College in Quincy, Calif., next month, Markus will be enrolled as a freshman with a rodeo scholarship that will pay all of his tuition.
Riding bulls has already paided off, literally, for the 2004 Spring Creek High School graduate. While competing in high school rodeos, Mariluch also attended PRCA shows. In the last couple of years, he has earned more than $22,000 competing with the pros.
It didn't hurt his college fund, either, that he came home from the National High School Rodeo Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyo., last month with another $900 in scholarships. (He wound up fourth in the national average even though he bucked off in the finals.) Most recently, he returned from rodeos in Nevada City and Lincoln, Calif., with another $1,500 in winnings. This week he heads for Oregon.
Jessie Segura of Las Vegas, the new Feather River rodeo coach, is recruiting the best talent he can find so his new school can field a top-notch college rodeo team. Mariluch is one of several Nevada rodeo athletes who will forego their Millennium Scholarships to go to Quincy, which is north of Reno and just over the border between California and Nevada. Some other Nevada cowboys who will also get some kind of financial aid from Feather River include Elko's Shade Mitchell, Carson City's Jessie Bartorelli, Fallon's Tyson Torvic and Winnemucca's Shane Ramasco.
Mariluch will continue to ride bulls at the college level while he furthers his education and enhances the G-3 welding certification he earned in Elko at Great Basin College, and from now until school starts, he will compete on the PRCA and Professional Bull Riding circuits traveling with Ned Cross of California, Matt Porter of Las Vegas and Matt Oros of Lamoille, who rides saddle broncs.
Mariluch started on stick horses when he was 2 years old, moved up to sheep, then to calves, cows, miniature bulls and, finally to the Brahma and Brahma bull crosses used in high school, college and the PRCA and PBR. When he was 12, he was reserve champion in Donny Landis' Miniature Bull Riding Circuit in California.
But he does other things as well. He has team roped with Elko's James Barton for many junior and high school rodeo seasons and early on, he rode a few bareback broncs until he determined that it "messed up" his bull riding technique.
By entering other events in high school and in junior rodeos, he was able to win numerous all-around cowboy titles, saddles and silver buckles.
Charlie Mariluch, Markus' father, also rode bulls when he was in high school. He did some bareback bronc riding and team roping as well in the PRCA.
He explained that his son "is very focused on going on to the PBR and making it to the National Finals Rodeo one day."
Markus says that he appreciates the opportunities his parents gave him and that he "loves them very much."