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St. Albans teen lands top spot in rodeo association

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A St. Albans High School senior has been chosen to head the National High School Rodeo Association, an organization with thousands of members in the United States, Canada and Australia.

In his new role, Drew Asbury, 18, will travel throughout the country promoting the organization and the rodeo sport of bull riding.

He rode in a national competition in Rock Springs, Wyo., in July with about 1,400 participants. While there, he campaigned and won the election for president.

"I like the association," he said. "I want to enhance it and make it bigger."

The position also offers excellent opportunities to travel with all expenses paid.

Bull riding is a rodeo sport. The rider mounts a large bull and holds on while the animal tries to buck the rider off. Bulls can weigh 1,200 to 1,500 pounds. American tradition calls for the rider to stay on for eight seconds.

At the recent competition in Rock Springs, Asbury stayed on his first bull for five seconds and the second one for three seconds before going over the front and hitting his left knee on the bull's head. He escaped with a bruise. These were pro rodeo bulls that will be heading to Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming in a few days.  

Asbury, who has always loved watching the sport on television, was only 8 when he talked his parents, Sherry and Keith Asbury, into letting him ride a calf. They thought one ride would cure his interest but it only whetted his appetite for the rodeo and his desire to move on up to a bucking bull.

The family lives in St. Albans where 34 acres offers plenty of room for their horses, goats, dogs and cats. They don't have a real bull but they do have an El Toro bucking machine for practicing.     

His father is a dentist and his mother is a preschool teacher. His sister, Katie, is a junior at West Virginia University majoring in animal science and nutrition.

Asbury qualifies for a partial academic scholarship at the University of Wyoming, a school that will most likely be his pick. The rodeo coach told him there is a possibility that additional funds may become available.

"It's a small school with activities and one-on-one teaching," he said. "It's a small campus and the people are really nice. They have a big farm with cattle and sheep. They do hands-on research. I like it out west.

"I want to go into animal science," he said. "I'll try to get into veterinary school and work with large animals or zoo animals."

Asbury played football for the Red Dragons last year but that won't be possible with his new schedule.

"I will travel a lot going to rodeo events and meetings," he said. "In December I will go Las Vegas for a week to the National Finals Rodeo. I will do make-up work (for school) on planes and in hotels. I have a laptop."

He has a 3.6 grade point average.

Whether he goes into professional bull riding depends upon future competitions, he said.

Why does he enjoy the sport?

"It's an adrenaline rush, but that's not it," he said. "It's the challenge. It's fun. It's between man and beast."  

Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at or 304-348-1246.


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