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  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Cierrra Hubbard looks at her competition during the breakaway finals at the Challenge of Champions by the California High School Rodeo Association at Amador County Fairground in Plymouth on Sunday, March 23, 2014.

  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Wyatt Brown, above, takes down a steer during the steer wrestling final, and Raychell Ochoa, left, takes charge of a goat during the goat-tying competition at Sunday’s Challenge of Champions at the Amador County Fairgrounds.

  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    A pair of boots sit for their owner by the shoots during the finals of the Challenge of Champions by the California High School Rodeo Association at Amador County Fairground in Plymouth on Sunday, March 23, 2014.

  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Raychell Ochoa of Phelan in San Bernardino County ties up her goat during the goat tying final during the Challenge of Champions by the California High School Rodeo Association at Amador County Fairground in Plymouth on Sunday, March 23, 2014.

  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Taylor Howell, 18, who has been blind most of his life, flies high in the bareback competition at the Challenge of Champions rodeo staged by the California High School Rodeo Association at the Amador County Fairground in Plymouth on Sunday.

Thrill rides routine as youth rodeo flies high in Plymouth

Published: Monday, Mar. 24, 2014 - 12:49 am
Last Modified: Sunday, Mar. 30, 2014 - 12:19 am

Sunday was the culmination of the three-day Challenge of Champions rodeo put on by the California High School Rodeo Association at Amador County Fairgrounds in Plymouth.

More than 160 students from nine California school districts competed in the event, which has been held at the fairgrounds for 17 years, according to Craig Williams, the Challenge chairman.

One of the competitors was Taylor Howell, 18, of Acton in Los Angeles County, who competed in the bareback competition finals. Howell, who has been blind since he was 1 1/2, was thrown off his horse in a matter of seconds Sunday but got to his knees and gave a thumbs up as help arrived to assist him.

Nursing his hand with a bag of ice afterward, Howell said that the he is able to compete at this level because he wasn’t babied as a child. “Always being pushed to do what I wanted to do rather than what everybody else wanted me to do,” he said, “Just determination, I guess. It might not be the same way that somebody else does it, but I find the way that works for me.”

Howell’s athletic activities aren’t limited to rodeo. He has played high school football, as well as riding horses and dirt bikes.

Read more articles by Bee Staff



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