LAS VEGAS – Just days ago, Trey Holston was sitting inside Fort Scott High School in Kansas trying to answer painful, trigonometry questions that are no way as enjoyable as riding a bull for 8 seconds.
Holston’s childhood dream may indeed become a reality after beginning the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour Finals Saturday with an 87.5-point ride on Coal Face to finish Round 1 in a tie for second place alongside PBR world leader Derek Kolbaba.
The 18-year-old is the youngest bull rider competing at the Velocity Finals after earning an invitation to ride courtesy of his 2017 National High School Rodeo Association championship in July.
Holston needs to finish in the top-two of the event.
“I was pretty nervous, but I knew they wouldn’t have invited me if I didn’t belong here, so I was comfortable,” Holston said. “The guys have been really nice here and made me feel like home.”
Holston had no clue that his high school national title would result in a chance to compete for a spot at the World Finals until a few weeks ago.
It was just another standard day at school when Holston went home and heard about the invite.
“I came home from school and my dad was making dinner. He said ‘I have some good news,’ and he wouldn’t tell me, wouldn’t tell me. Finally he told me the PBR called and wanted me to come to the Velocity Finals.
“I was tickled to death and started working out a little harder.”
In 2012, Holston was named the World Champion Miniature Bull Rider in Las Vegas. The well-decorated youth bull rider was the 2011 National Junior High Rodeo Association (NJHRA) reserve champion and then won the championship outright two years later.
Todd rode bulls for 10 years and competed for Fort Scott Community College. The elder Holston has been a stellar mentor to Trey, and he has instilled in his son with the fundamentals of the sport.
“My dad has been a great inspiration,” Trey, who got on his first sheep at three years old, said. “He taught me his ways and here we are.”
While his son was remaining relaxed and confident on the back of the bucking chutes, Todd was the one letting out a big exhale following his son’s first qualified ride at a PBR event.
“If you ever see Trey get worked up, something is wrong,” Todd said. “He is pretty loose and cool. He doesn’t really get shook up about much, but every time you take a step like this, for a split-second it is a gut check. But at this point in his life, once he crawls over the back of the bucking chutes he has no comprehension of where he is at.
Both father and son were excited when they saw Trey’s draw for Round 1. Coincidentally, Trey had seen Coal Face around the high school rodeo circuit before, but he had never gotten on the bull.
“That bull is actually three or four hours from my hometown,” Trey said. “I never been on him, but I knew it was a really good draw for tonight’s pen. I was happy to have him. I expected coming here to get on three or four bulls I never seen before. It was cool that bull and I traveled all the way to Las Vegas to get on him.”
Holston only turned 18 on July 16, which was three days after winning the high school national title.
Jess Lockwood remembers competing against Holston at the high school level and was impressed by his first-round performance.
“That kid rides really good,” Lockwood said. “I was interested to see how he would do at a level up. He had a good bull to ride, but I mean he bucked dang hard. He did his job, too. I am interested to see the rest of the time how he does. Everyone thinks it is easy, but winning is never easy necessarily even if it is on high school bulls. Hell, I never won (the national title).”
It would be a pretty wild turn of events for a kid who has yet to go to prom or graduate high school.
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