PARK HILLS, Mo. (AP) -- Fourteen-year-old Carson Heady is now the official 2013 World Champion in Junior Boy Bull Riding.
That's a pretty impressive title for this unassuming and shy youngster who has literally taken the bull riding world by storm over the two brief years he's been involved in the sport.
Carson was crowned world champ while representing the state of Missouri at the National Little Britches Rodeo Finals held July 22-27 at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, Colo.
Before he set foot out of the state to attend the finals, Carson was already sitting in first place for the 2013 season of the American Family Rodeo Association, as well as top ranked in the 2013 Little Britches Rodeo Association. It was by virtue of his first place rank in the Little Britches Rodeo Association that Carson qualified to attend Pueblo and go for the world title.
While you can't beat a world championship, this wasn't Carson's first taste of personal victory.
Before he ever put on a protective helmet and vest to ride his first bull, Carson had already found success in several other sports he'd participated in -- soccer, basketball, baseball, go-kart racing and dirt bike racing. He even held the record and track championship for go-kart racing and chocked up several other awards in dirt bike racing.
Unfortunately, when Carson turned 11 or 12, he had to get out of dirt kart racing because, according to his father, there were no tracks that ride wide open dirt karts, they were all restricted.
"He wanted to run fast and he couldn't do that," said his father, Chad Heady. "He was too young to get into a big car and so he started thinking about what else he could do."
And that's how Carson began bull riding and soon it was taking over a big chunk of his life.
The sport of bull riding is time intensive with weekends more often than not spent traveling hundreds of miles to participate in multiple competitions held in any number of states. Carson was transported to these events by his mother, Crystal, and stepfather, Chuck Fenwick. They were also the ones who drove the young bull rider to Pueblo where he achieved the ultimate prize for his sport.
While there were mandatory state meetings to attend, Carson enjoyed some downtime, too.
"They took a little ride up to Colorado Springs and looked at the mountains," Chad said.
Over the entire week, Carson rode on the back of a bull three times.
One of Carson's most treasured possessions are six belt buckles he received for different levels of participation in the world championship.
"Carson got the first belt buckle just for qualifying to be there," explained Chad. "In the first go -- or round -- he took fourth place out of like 29 riders. He got to the second go and got seventh place. He was sending me all this to my phone and I said, Wow, son, seventh place, c'mon you can do better than that.'
"I asked him where he was at statistic-wise and if he could still get world champion. He said, Yeah, dad, I think I can in the short go if I do good in it. Well, when he got into the short go, he scored the highest point ride out of every ride they had for the nine days of the event. He rode a bull that was ranked. I saw a video of it. It bucked like crazy. So, he won the world championship because all his points totaled up. And when he rode that last bull that was the end. All the boys knew it. They just dropped their heads up on the shoots cause they knew that bull had really done his job and Carson had gotten a good score. It made him go number one in the world."
When it was all said and done, Carson got the world championship belt buckle, a college tuition voucher, a pair of riding boots, an inscribed saddle, a new helmet and a cash jackpot of $600.
To top it all off, Carson was welcomed home on the evening of June 28 as he came off the Desloge exit.
"He didn't really know what was going on," said Chad. "It was kind of a secret. We kept in contact with his mom and, so, when they took the off ramp there were about 50 or 60 people there to greet him."
Now that Carson has won the world championship in junior bull riding, he's going to go for number one again -- but this time in the senior division.
In recognition of his accomplishment, Missouri Rep. Linda Black came to Carson's home on Friday to present him with a framed resolution from the state House of Representatives.
"Whenever we have outstanding young people in the state of Missouri we like to recognize them for their achievements," she said. "Especially since what you do is so much out of the norm for kids nowadays. The fact that you get outdoors and do an event that's part of the national American heritage and tradition definitely makes you an outstanding young citizen of Missouri. This is something you can always keep and know that the state of Missouri backs you and supports you in the future of bull riding."
After the presentation Carson and his family thanked the sponsors who helped him raise the $3,500 it cost him to make the trip to Pueblo. They include Southtowne Imaging Center in Potosi, Kevin Ball Auto Body in Leadington, Route 66 Outpost in Cuba, Team Heady Outdoors and Midwest Bucking Bulls.
He also wants to thank all the individuals who helped him, too," Chad said. "Those people who gave a $10 bill or a $20 bill, they didn't have to do that. They just wanted to see an area boy do something. We appreciate it."
As Carson began to head back over to the corral at his home to practice some bull riding, his father grinned and said, "This world championship can take Carson anywhere. Now, he's just got to learn how to do PR."