Country music singer Garth Brooks once sang “It’s bulls and blood. It’s the dust and mud. It’s the roar of a Sunday crowd” to describe what a bull rider might love about riding in a rodeo.
For Yelm’s Benjamin Viveros, it’s about fulfilling his lifelong dream.
“It’s always been my dream to ride a bull in the rodeo, and now I’m living it. My dad used to ride bulls, and it was a dream ever since I was little. Now I’m doing it,” Viveros said at the annual Roy Rodeo, Sept. 3 and Sept. 4. “At the end of the day, it’s great to ride in the local rodeo. It’s not technically my hometown rodeo since we don’t have anything in Yelm, but I’d still consider it home. To have all my family there makes a big difference.”
Viveros, a 2019 Yelm High School graduate, competed in the Roy Rodeo’s bull riding events on Saturday and Sunday.
“I got beat up today, just like last night, but last night was worse,” Viveros said Sunday of his rides. “I came out, made the first turn perfect, then my feet came up and I kissed him. I got hung up today, too.”
Despite not qualifying for the Northwest Pro Rodeo Association finals, Viveros is keeping a positive mindset and plans to train and improve his rides in the rodeo’s offseason. He found a spot to practice in Enumclaw and will make the most of his sessions leading up to his next official ride. He’ll climb on “as many bulls as he can” in order to improve.
“It comes down to practicing hard this winter and coming out strong next rodeo season. I’m going to hit it hard this year because I finally have somewhere to practice. The only way to practice bull riding is to get on. The only way to get it done is by doing it,” Viveros said. “It’s always been my goal to win the buckle and qualify for finals and hopefully win that, too. My ultimate goal is to make it to the PRCA, but for now I’m going to keep it simple and ride what I can, and make the NPRA finals.”
The young bull rider said his first ride was in June of 2022, and that once he opened the chute he came right off. Since then, Viveros said he’s made steady improvement.
“I feel pretty calm before my rides, but once you get up on that bull, that’s when you get the butterflies in your gut,” Viveros said. “From there, I’m just ready to work. It just comes down to nodding your head and sending it.”
With a large cheering section in attendance this past weekend supporting Viveros, including his parents, sisters and girlfriend, he felt at home before his rides. Viveros said he was happy to see a high attendance of young rodeo fans. During the rodeo, they had the opportunity to participate in a stick horse race, and Viveros said it was great to see the youngsters get involved in the rodeo.
“A lot of the rodeos do mutton bustin’ and things like that. That’s where it started for me. When I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be a bull rider. I worked my a** off to get here, but I get to do what I love. I hope the kids get to feel the same love for rodeo [that] I did when I was younger,” Viveros said. “You have to be tough and be able to grit your teeth. At the end of the day, it comes down to the kids that want to do it too. Don’t let a dream be a dream. Chase it because it isn’t going to come to you. A dream is a dream until you make it come true.”