James Moore III is only four years old, but he has seen his share of rodeos. When he was only two years old, he rode in the Joker Jones Birthday Bull Bash in Gila River, his first rodeo, in the sheep-riding competition.
Moore attends the Early Childhood Education Center and is in the Hawk Class.
His most recent event was at the Arizona National Livestock show Li’l Buckaroo Rodeo. For Moore it’s all about having fun and being able to ride and hang on to the sheep.
“James has gone to riding events with his dad, who began riding bulls as a hobby, and he was always around it,” said Moore’s mother, Molly Sanchez. He then would mimic riding a bull and would pay close attention to what a rider does in the chute as well as when they get off the back of a bull.
“He imitates bull riding all the time,” said Sanchez. “We then entered him in his first competition, mutton bustin’. He was scared at first, but he did it, and after that it never stopped.”
James constantly tells his parents he wants to ride a calf. “We have to keep reminding him he needs to slow down, because he won’t be able to ride a calf until he is six years old,” said his mother.
So far Moore has received numerous participation awards, several ribbons and shirts. He is still perfecting his riding skills.
Late last year at the Ak-Chin Masik Tas Rodeo, he came in fourth out of 12 riders. He has also participated in the Rodeo Hard in San Tan Valley, the Santa Rosa Bull Bash and the Salt River Fun Day Rodeo.
Moore’s next big event will be next month at La Fiesta de los Vaqueros in Tucson, where he will be competing in the Dodge Mutton Bustin’ competition. But you can catch him practicing at the Buffalo Chip in Cave Creek every Friday evening.
According to his mother, Moore has ridden in many events where he was the youngest contender.
“He has a lot of compassion and heart for the sport of rodeo, as little as he is,” said Sanchez. “He is our daredevil.
“He almost always wears his boots and cowboy hat. He is what cowboys are made of. He really enjoys what he does and we will support him as long as he loves doing it. We are so proud of him and all he has accomplished.”