Najiah and the Bulls | God's World News
Najiah and the Bulls
Time Machine
Posted: March 01, 2024
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    Najiah Knight prepares to ride a bull during the 2023 Junior World Finals rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada. (AP/John Locher)
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    Najiah Knight wants to become the first woman to compete at the top level of the Professional Bull Riders tour. (AP/LM Otero)
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    Najiah uses a practice barrel to work on bull riding skills with the help of her father at home in Arlington, Oregon. (AP/Amanda Loman)
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    Najiah competes during the 2023 Junior World Finals rodeo. (AP/John Locher)
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    Will Najiah become the first woman at the top level in bull riding? (AP/John Locher)
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Najiah Knight drops down onto a bull. The huge animal could buck her off at any moment. She adjusts her ropes. Music blares in the arena. But 17-year-old Najiah can hear only her dad, in the chute with her, and her mom, cheering from the stands. She nods to show she’s ready. A cowboy pulls the chute door.

The gate swings wide. Najiah and the beast bolt into the ring. She begins her dance with the bull.

Najiah has a big goal. She wants to become the first woman to compete at the top level of the Professional Bull Riders tour. She can’t join until she’s 18. Even then, she’ll have to prove she’s good enough to qualify. That takes time, travel, money and, perhaps most of all, guts. The sport is dangerous. Riders frequently get injured. Some even die in the ring.

“Since I was a little kid, three years old, I would tell my dad that this is what I’m gonna do,” she says. “I’m going to be a bull rider.”

Bull riders try to stay on the bucking animal for eight seconds. They must keep one of their hands in the air. Riders cannot touch the bull with that hand. If eight seconds is achieved, both bull and rider are scored. The top score possible is 100.

Like many teens, Najiah fell in just a couple of seconds. But she’d get another chance.

Najiah’s dad says that at three she started “mutton busting,” or riding sheep. “It was like she had Velcro pants on, and she’d stick to them,” he says with a laugh.

Her mom says, “There was no taming that fire.”

Be strong, and let your heart take courage. — Psalm 27:14

Why? Bull riding started as work. It has turned into an exciting but dangerous sport.