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Talon Cornett wearing a helmet while riding a bullWhile his father Shamar Cornett was watching a Professional Bull Riders event on television, his son Talon walked by and casually offered, “I can do that.”

“He was probably joking,” Shamar said. “But I found a rodeo in Fraiser, Colorado, and entered him in a steer-riding event.”

Today, 12-year-old Talon -- a sixth grader at Pueblo Academy of Arts -- is a rising star in the High Plains Bucking Association, perfecting his bull-riding craft relentlessly while competing in events across the state.

After moving from Columbus, Ohio, to Pueblo in 2023, Talon attended the Spur Ride Rodeo Bull Riding Clinic in Kersey, where he was taken under the tutelage of Koda King. Quickly, the young athlete established himself as a force to be reckoned with, winning the Calahan Sharp Shooter Series’ Junior Mini Bull Division and the Pagosa Springs Fall Finale Senior Bull Division.

Currently, he is ranked third in High Plains Bucking Association.

His success is a visible testament to his unbreakable work ethic, both in and out of the classroom.“Talon practices at a few different pens,” his father said. “Mostly, we drive to Kersey to Spur Ride Rodeo Company and he also practices at ‘Bakers Buckin' Bulls’ in Fountain and the Ford Rodeo in Brighton.

“Every day after school, he weight trains at the local YMCA and then gets on the drop barrel in our backyard. And every morning before his day starts, he engages in goal writing, meditation, and visualizations. Since bull riding is 90 percent mental, we have to keep his mind as strong as possible.”

So far, Talon has met three professional bull riders: world champion Mason Moody, Mason Taylor and Chase Outlaw.

He hopes one day to join their ranks.

“Talon asked them for advice, which led to his first rodeo win at the Sharp Shooter Series in Calhan,” Shamar said. “His goal this season is to place in the Top 5 in the High Plains Bucking series, (he is currently third), which will qualify him for World Finals in Texas at the end of September.

Eventually, Talon wants to become a PBR member and win a world championship in front of his family.

”For the best-conditioned athletes, bull riding is a sport rife with the potential for injury. That fact is not lost on the Cornett family.

“I get nervous every single time I tie his hand to a bull,” Shamar said. “However, those are my nerves as a parent and I make sure to not project them on him. When he first started riding, he was very nervous and emotional, but we read a book called 'Mental Toughness for Young Athletes' by Troy Horne, and that was a game changer.

"Now, he trains his mind to be resilient through daily goal writing, meditation, and visualization.”

Talon has the honor of being the first rodeo athlete from the Cornett family. He is currently seeking sponsorship from local businesses to assist with entry fees and other expenses.

For more information, Shamar Cornett can be reached at