PBR Takes Over Springfield

By Anna Thomas & Callie Rainey, Ozarks News Journal

Springfield, MO–Imagine fireworks, a roaring crowd and a raging bull you’re desperately trying to stay on for eight seconds against 37 determined bull riders.

Brady Sims, Professional Bull Riding rookie, says for him, that’s just another day at the office.

“You’ve been on so many, you’ve been to so many places that you don’t really think of it too much,” Sims said.

His love for the career started when he was a child being drug to mutton busting, or sheep riding, by his friend.

“I jumped on one and as soon as it came out, I fell off right off the back end of him. I got up crying and everything, but I’ve been stuck with it ever since,” Sims said.

A mere 21 years old, Sims has been professionally riding bulls for three years. His first debut was in Thackerville in 2012.

“Got a welcome to the big leagues there, and it didn’t work out too hot. But that just made me want it more so I just kept going and going and then finally worked my way here, and I’m going to try and stay here for as long as I can,” Sims said.

Sims didn’t have to travel far from his hometown of Holt, Missouri for the Built Ford Tough Series PFIWestern.com Invitational.

“It’s a blessing. I’ve been chasing this ever since I was five years old, and now to finally be here it’s kind of surreal. It’s not that it hasn’t’ set in, but it hasn’t set in just yet,” Sims said.

The excitement became more intense once Sims threw on his chaps, exchanged his red tennis shoes for cowboy boots, and started preparing for his first bull ride in JQH arena.

“You take roslin and put it on your rope, and it makes your rope sticky, so that it doesn’t blow out of your hand. You got your stretching, your taping, all that kind of stuff. Everybody has their own ritual,” Sims said.

And his biggest tip?

“Hang on tight. That’s about it. Anybody can hold on for eight seconds. Anybody can,” Sims said.

You can hear and feel the excitement in the audience, just imagine what it’s like on the bull.

“I’d probably compare it pretty close to skydiving. The adrenaline rush and just the feeling of it,” Sims said.

And like any sport, it comes with the chance of injury. The weekend before Sims rode in Springfield, he was stepped on by a bull named Shanghai Heat in Tennessee.

“I was doing the old day money drag, and whenever I come off, my hands kind of hung in the rope and he stepped right on the side of the face, dislocated my jaw and about ripped my ear off and all that good stuff,” Sims said.

While he is feeling better, Sims says he doesn’t like talking about the injury side because it could be a jinx.

“It’s part of the game, you know. Whenever I signed up to do this, I never thought it would be all marshmallows and cupcakes the whole time. I knew there was a chance of getting hurt,”

Zane Lambert, ranked in the top 15 for PBR, says to rookies, it’s all about getting back up on the bull.

“It’s a muscle memory thing like any other sport. You train, and train, and train, and you do it over and over again and your muscle reaction gets that much better,” Lambert said.

For Sims, he says he’s never one to hold a grudge on a bull.

“For me, I’m in the moment. I get hyped up right before and as soon as I’m off, I’m done,” Sims said.

That night, Sims rode for 54 championship points.

The fans though, Sims says, are what make it that much more thrilling, even with a bad run.

“These are the best fans in my opinion, of any sport because it doesn’t matter who you are, they just want to see a bull riding. You could be 71 points and they’re going to cheer like it was 105,” Sims said.

Sims says he plans to reach the top ten by world finals, be named rookie of the year, and always move toward bigger and better things.

“If you’re heart ain’t racing whenever you get out there, you aren’t doing something,” Sims said.

The World Finals will be in Las Vegas on October 22nd through 26th, awarding the winner with a championship buckle.

Gun Safety with Children


By Taylor Vance, Ozarks News Journal

Springfield, MO–The discussion of children and gun safety has been the buzz since the incident in Arizona last month that involved a six year old girl accidentally shooting her instructor with an uzi.

Dale Siler is the owner of the local gun range, Ozark Shooters.

“That shouldn’t have ever happened, and even though it could have been safely that instructor didn’t do it safely, he wasn’t standing in the right place he didn’t have control of the gun when the child had it and well he paid,” said Siler.

John Russwurm is the chief range safety officer.

“The girl was way too young to be shooting that rifle… that was my thought,” said Russwurm.

Organizations like the NRA and Missouri Department of Conservation provide classes specializing in teaching young people how to safely use a firearm.

“So many different things about safety: guns in your home how to keep them secure, how to put them in safes if you have rifles or shotguns, how to use a small gun fault that kids couldn’t get into, have a combination on it or have a keypad with a code on it or fingerprints they even have on it now that the parents could use but the kids couldn’t get into the guns and that’s what you want you want to be the most safety conscious,” said Russwurm.

Safety doesn’t stop with the parents teaching and enforcing it. Manufacturers are also behind the movement. Over time, the production of guns have advanced with features like this hinge safety.

“Manufacturers have pretty well, ya know there have been guns in the past that would go off if you dropped them, I’ve seen a few examples of that but all the guns that are manufactured today will not go off they have block firing pins or some other device that blocks them and they won’t go off,” said Siler.

While local gun ranges like Ozark Shooters does not allow machine guns like the one in the Arizona incident, they take the safety precautions necessary in all guns used by children at the range.

Protest Sparks Conversation on Race at MSU

(by Taylor Bishop & Taylor Vance, Ozarks News Journal)

A silent demonstration at Missouri State Universities Homecoming festivities has caused a loud response. The protest For Civil Rights made headlines after backlash and racial slurs were targeted at students protesting.

The negative feedback has sparked a conversation about cultural Competence not only at Missouri State but in Springfield as a whole.

Shannon Shellner is one the students who participated in the protest.

“The overall goal personally was to raise awareness on campus and just sort of get the word out about certain social issues that have been happening around America and just for several years towards African Americans in general.” said Shellner.

As the demonstrators remained silent, reactions did not.

“People were walking through our circle, people were calling us names, the n-word, telling us to go back to Ferguson and St. Louis, those types of things, to keep it in the hood.” said Shellner.

And it’s not just on campus that students have felt this discrimination.

“Everyone knows Springfield, we were nervous to come down here. Personally being a Black person and a woman at that, I mean walking on the street I’ve been called the n-word, told to go stand on a corner so it’s not like this is the first time.” said Shellner.

According to comments on a campus community social media page, Overheard At Missouri State, many students who were not involved in the protest thought Homecoming was the wrong place to bring up such issues. We tried contacting several people for interviews but no one agreed to comment.

“That’s what we wanted to happen, we wanted a reaction” said Shellner.

In the midst of the recent attention from the demonstration, Missouri State University’s Division Of Diversity And Inclusion just received a national award for Higher Education Excellence In Diversity.

Ken Coopwood is Missouri State University’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion.

“We won that this year and I think it’s very timely to have won this award giving the onset of the demonstrations because the demonstrations clearly let us know that we have not yet arrived. The award simply lets us know that we are on the right track for that arrival.” said Coopwood.

We recently attended the Speak Up event that was organized to talk about the protest where we learned that Civil Rights discussion has just begun.

“The most important thing is that we are all here right now and that we are aware of what’s happening and we’re talking about it and that’s step one.” said one student at the Speak Up event.

“Now we have a tremendous opportunity to deal with those initial responses for the benefit of our entire institution.” said Coopwood.


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