December 11, 2008

Eight seconds for a life-long dream for Johnson

At first glance, Center’s Skyler Johnson seems like a typical 17-year-old farm boy. He is enjoying football season, spending time with friends, and helping around the family dairy operation. What isn’t so typical, though, is a remarkable bull-riding season crowning the end of his junior riding career.

Skyler earned his sixth championship this past season including two buckles. Of the two years Skyler’s competed in high school rodeo, he has made the State Finals both times including a sixth place finish as a sophomore. Also, the 5-foot-7 cowboy made the National Professional Rodeo Association finals this fall where as the events youngest rider, Skyler earned fourth place in the second round before being bucked off in the short round.

"It’s always fun to compete against the older guys and guys riding professionally," he said.

But the Oliver County native got his start in bull riding almost by chance. In 2005, Skyler was up at the Circle C Ranch north of Bismarck with his sister. While she visited with friends, a curious Skyler ventured over to the bullpens, where he was given the opportunity to take a spin on a couple young bulls. That was all it took as by the following January Skyler had enrolled in junior high rodeo and just celebrated his three year anniversary Nov. 1.

"It’s fun. Of course making the ride is the best part of it," Skyler said. "Winning is nice but riding bulls is fun in itself."

His mother Jessica Johnson added, "Dominating something that’s so big. Especially when you get on something that you know is really good and cover it."


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