Amateur Athlete: Lane Vaughan

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DORRIS, Cali. —┬áIt takes courage to ride a 600 pound animal. It takes physical strength and competitive spirit. Many adults wouldn’t give it a try, but at eight years old, it’s Lane Vaughan’s favorite thing to do.

“When I was three, four and five, I was really scared,” said Vaughan. “Then when I got older, it just seemed easier.”

“It’s an adrenaline rush,” said Lane’s father, John. “It’s almost like an addiction. Once you do it and you really enjoy it, that’s all you want to do.”

The addiction for John started when he was seven. Lane is eight, and he’s completely hooked.

“Ever since the time he could talk he wanted to rodeo, ride bulls,” said John. “He saw his dad do it and his cousins, and ever since he was crawling, he wants to be a cowboy.”

That’s not to say Lane doesn’t still feel nerves. He’s a tenth of the size of the animal he rides, but he’s driven by the excitement.

“I feel ready to do whatever comes,” said Lane.

On a calf, you never know what’s going to come, but there’s a more practical reason why Lane rides. Lane earns a belt buckle for all his successful rides. He’s already won more than ten specialty buckles, but he’s not only competing against the other riders, he’s in competition with the calf. Depsite a lifetime of bull riding himself, John knows the dangers.

“It’s nervewracking,” said John. “There’s always that potential to get hurt or injured.”

John has suffered numerous injuries, resulting in five surgeries, essentially ending his rodeo career, but he still aims to support Lane as much as he can.

“I just step back and let them make their own choices, even though he’s eight,” said John. “It’s something he wants to do, and it scares the heck out of me, but he’s living his dream and that’s what he wants to do.”