Endres Headed to Rodeo Nationals in Steer Wrestling

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By WSIL Sports

ANNA -- From the moment the gate opens and the steer runs free, Donnie Endres only has one thing on his mind, bringing a 500 pound animal to the ground.

"You just get on a horse and jump off," Endres said.

The 17-year old started riding horses when he was four. He's been steer wrestling or bulldogging as it's commonly called, for the last three years.

"Coming off of a perfectly nice horse and dropping down is the hardest thing," he said.

Steer wrestling is a timed rodeo event that can be very dangerous. The rider starts behind a barrier and begins his chase after the steer is given a head start. He's assisted by a hazer, another person on horseback whose job is to keep the steer running in a straight line. As the bulldogger's horse nears the steer, he jumps off, landing on top of the animal, wrestling it to the ground by its horns. Donnie's fastest time in the event is 6.1 seconds.

"When you come off your horse and you don't land on the steer and you go sliding 15 foot on the ground, that ain't ever fun."

Failure is a common part of steer wrestling. Endres says he gets the bull to the ground about 65 percent of the time but there are lots of variables. Riding a reliable horse is one of the biggest factors. Donnie has been with his horse Ace for the last year.

"If your horse don't do good, you ain't going to do good," he said. "I mean if your horse don't put you there, you can't do your job so you've got to trust your horse."

At the Illinois High School Rodeo finals last month, Donnie took first place. The win qualified him for the National High School Rodeo later this month in Wyoming. It will be his third trip to the event.

"I'm just going to try to get a time, do my best, and do what I know how to do."
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