GOODING, Idaho (KLIX) – If Donnie Landis had his way, he’d make Idaho a kids’ bull riding playground.

“That’s a dream,” he said.

The reality is bull riding doesn’t have as broad appeal as it once did. In his own neck of the woods, Landis is trying to change that.

Landis and Roughstock 101, a youth sporting production and promoting company he founded, has scheduled a two-day bull riding school for this Saturday, March 31, and April 7, at the Gooding County Fairgrounds.

Landis, who has made a profession as a rodeo clown and barrelman, said he’s been teaching kids to ride bulls for some 20 years. He still gets a thrill out of watching young people learn the extreme sport, and envisions more kids getting involved as they find out there are still places to become familiar with it.

“Bull riding is a young man’s sport,” Landis said. “In bull riding, in my opinion, we have a lot of unprecedented areas where we’re not marketed. I feel if more of these kids in urban areas knew they could participate in and learn to be a bull rider, they would.”

On Saturday, students will learn to ride miniature bulls from Landis and other local cowboys. On April 7, students will be visited by professional Idaho bull rider Brock Mortensen.

Bull riding and rodeos, which Landis said also has seen a dip in the number of people involved, came from a cowboy culture. “We don’t have that anymore,” he said. “Some of these kids don’t even know how to ride a horse.”

But he’s hoping a few young people who’ll attend the classes will walk away enthused about riding bulls. He said he has several other events planned in Idaho this year.

The classes target those ages 9 to 14, but he said a few 7 year olds might show up at the first class. Older teens or those in their 20s who’d like to try their hand at riding a bull may sign up for the second class.

Because bull riding is an extremely rough ride, there’s always the chance of injury. But, he said, from what he's seen and experienced over the years, the injury rate isn't as high as playing football.

There is something else that's different between the two activities, which may increase the adrenaline of bull riders and their risk of injury: “Both are contact sports,” he said. “But in bull riding, the animals don’t understand the whistle.”

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