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ELKO — For the first time, young bull riders tested their mettle during the Silver State Stampede.

Not competing simply on young beef animals, junior bull riders rode mini bulls.

“The bulls have to be 44-inches or shorter at the hip to be registered as a mini,” said Roughstock 101 and Lil Bucks Bull Co. founder Donnie Landis.

In the inaugural performance of the junior bull riding at the Stampede, the cowboys were a little off their games Friday night.

St. Anthony, Idaho’s Tripp Bauer was the only rider who made the whistle — the bull laying down and needing multiple trips to get out of the gate — the other cowboys dismantled quickly from the cutes.

Saturday night picked up with higher-marked bull scores and better rides from their opponents.

Chet Hill, also of St. Anthony, kicked things off with a 78-point ride, his bull breaking left out of the chute and then swinging back to the right in front of the announcer stand — unable to shake Hill in the slightest.

On a bull that refused to spin, Bauer made it to the whistle for the second-consecutive night — scoring 77 points.

One of the best rides of night went for a no-score, Elko’s Zach Oros starting one that would have jumped to the top of the leaderboard.

Aboard a red paint, Oros made several turns with the animal — going away from his riding hand — the bull jumping out of the spin and sending Oros to the outside for a buck-off.

Once he hit, he was hung in the bull rope — saved by the help of bullfighter Tyson Hutchison — getting dragged down and stomped on his chaps for a rough landing.

Save the best for last.

The recovery of the night belonged to Los Molinas, California’s Hunter Maxwell.

Maxwell fell into his riding hand with a belly roll from his bull – appearing destined for a date with the dirt — immediately throwing his free arm and weight back right back in the middle.

He owned the bucker after that, winning the performance with a score of 82 points.

Déjà vu.

The best get-back move of Sunday’s performance belonged to Maxwell once again.

With a left delivery, Maxwell’s bull broke straight and then went right — sending him away from his riding hand to the left of the bull and over the front.

He made another desperation move back to the middle and looked the part for the remainder of the ride — equaling his Saturday-night 82 with another — opening a score of 164 on two rides.

Maxwell won the 10-13 age group with his pair of 82s.

Buhl, Idaho’s Caysen Vaughan — competing in the 8-10 age group — made the highest-marked ride of the division Sunday, scoring 79 points on a black bull spinning left out of the chute.

Congrats to Hunter Maxwell and Caysen Vaughan on their victories, Donnie Landis for bringing a new event to the Silver State Stampede and the Stampede Committee for trying to think of new ways since 1912 to give the fans of the rodeo something unique and special.

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