Colome: Every time Colome senior Riggin Shippy steps over the last rail of the corral and settles onto the back of a 1-ton animal his mind goes into a zone, THEE ZONE. While the bull in the chute wants no part of Shippy being on his back and is specifically built and bred to get the human OFF, Shippy’s mind goes blank despite the chaos of a million things going on around him.
“I usually try my best not to think,” Shippy said. “Your mind is programmed that you ain’t afraid of nothing and you go out and dominate because you can’t be second guessing yourself.”
Shippy performed at an elite level at the recently completed South Dakota High School Finals Rodeo in Belle Fourche, winning the bull riding competition and earning a trip to the High School National Finals Rodeo to be held in Rock Springs in July.
Shippy didn’t just win, he dominated winning the first go (75), finishing 2nd in the 2nd go (65) and being the only rider to stay on during the short-go. For Shippy, all the hard work and an improved mentality paid dividends while earning the senior-to-be his first trip to the National Finals.
“Ever since wresting I’ve been working for this,” Shippy said. “I’ve been visualizing this, I’ve been dreaming about how it would feel and it feels good to have all that hard work pay off.”
Shippy worked for this moment, he earned it but not without working on the metal aspect of one of, if not the TUFFEST high school sport in the world.
“I think I used to play head games with myself so I think the biggest difference this year was getting ahold of my mind,” Shippy said. “Once I got my mind under control I just went out and had fun and that’s what its all about.”
For a young man that qualified for the state wrestling tournament (170) for the Winner AREA wrestling team the individual aspect of rodeo has a certain appeal.
“You don’t have a coach and you have to go practice and do it on your own,” Shippy said.
Shippy sees some comparisons between wrestling and rodeo and notes not having to rely on someone else for your success.
“If you want to win you have to go out and put in the work,” he said.
Some of that hard work comes in the form of working at the family business, Shippy Rodeo Bulls, owned by parents Randy and Jennie. In typical South Dakota farm-boy style Shippy is putting in actual WORK, while honing his craft.
“Sunshine or not we are up feeding bulls grain or hay,” Shippy said.
Ya can’t grow up on a Bucking Bull farm without getting on your first ride at some point.
“I think I got on my first calf when I was six,” he said.
While kids that ride bulls normally don’t get on senior bulls until the age of 14, Shippy, with an abundance of bulls in his own backyard, found his way onto the bigger bulls at age 12. He doesn’t waste his bull riding opportunities and gets after it with the practice bulls on the family business.
“I’m on the practice bulls probably once per week,” Shippy said. “Every day I’m either riding the drop barrel or the stationary barrel or jumping my horse over stuff.”
Make no mistake this young man is serious about his craft. Every competitive ride is video-taped and Shippy goes over every ride with a fine-toothed-comb looking for any area where he could get better.
For someone who has never had the courage to get on the back of 1-ton of unbridled and angry fury, Shippy describes the experience like this.
“You get on in the chute, get comfortable and take a few deep breaths,” Shippy said. “All my buddies are there spotting and hollering stuff and getting me ready to go.”
Every trip onto the bull and every ride is done the same way.
And then, it happens, the gate opens and Shippy rarely remembers what happens over the next eight seconds.
“It just goes so fast,” Shippy said. “There are usually a few specific points that I’ll remember and that’s it.”
What has already been a memorable summer for Shippy gets better as he and family will attend the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs from July 15 – July 21