AK Cowboys: Junior rodeo riders head to national competition

 photo courtesy Frank Koloski
photo courtesy Frank Koloski (KTUU)
Published: Nov. 10, 2017 at 3:07 PM AKST
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Four young rodeo stars from Alaska are heading to a national junior bull riding competition in Reno, Nevada this weekend.

"I mainly do it for the fun, and trying to get Alaska on the map for rodeos, because we're 'rodeo rich' and we're doing so much" said 10-year-old Frank "Buckshot" Koloski.

Frank, and his 12-year-old cousin, Willie, were practicing this week on a mechanical bull riding simulator in a company garage in midtown Anchorage. They are training indoors because of the winter weather.

Willie Koloski says he began riding when he was eight years old. "It was scary. I was really nervous," he said about his first junior bull ride. "I like that you need to have skill to do it. You have to be strong. It's fun, it's really encouraging for people."

Both boys are advocates for young people and adults taking part in rodeo. "I really want to encourage more kids to do calf riding and more grownups to do bull riding, because you're safe and it's fun" said "Buckshot". "So, get on those bulls and have some fun."

Their coach, Frank Koloski, Sr., says junior rodeo builds character in young people. "It's the camaraderie of the sport. The sport is not so much one against the other. This is a team sport."

Koloski also says it's a great way to get kids outdoors and away from video game and cell phone screens. "Our 'less apps, more chaps' motto is really getting the voice out to get kids more involved," he said.

Koloski says his organization, Rodeo Alaska, began in 2014 with about 30 young riders. He says that number is now more than 150.