MCCUNE - Later this week Quintonn Lunsford, of McCune, will be competing in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the Junior NFR Mini Bareback Riding World Championship. He has already been honored as the Junior Champion in RRFRC in bareback and steer riding.

A seventh grader, Quintonn also plays football and wrestles for Southeast Junior High, and plays youth baseball.

Quintonn's father and grandfather both rode bulls. Quintonn started riding sheep when he was three or four years old, and moved on to riding bareback about three years ago because "it gets your energy running - it's just fun."

While he admitted he likes hanging out with his friends and the risk of getting hurt was kind of a thrill, Quintonn also likes the challenge of it being an individual sport.

"It's not your coaches fault if you mess up. It's your fault," he said.

There are no teammates to rely on. Your coach/trainer/teacher can only help so much. When it's time to do your thing, it's on you. He said that's also why he likes wrestling.

Quintonn has wrestled for several years, as did his sister and his dad. Quintonn's parents helped to organize the Lancer Youth Wrestling Club and recently his mom, Karri, posted on her personal Facebook page to recruit new wrestlers:

"I want to encourage parents to sign their young men (or women!) up for wrestling this year. And here’s why. Wrestling sucks. It’s not fun."

She went on to talk about how wrestling pushes you to the max physically and mentally, the discipline instilled in participants, and even though your score is included in the team's overall score, in the end it's an individual sport where all eyes are on you.

"If you get a penalty, it’s because you locked your hands. Nobody else can be blamed. You walk out on that mat by yourself in front of a whole crowd of people to face an opponent alone. Nobody is going to help. Nobody else is going to make the move. If you’re a bad sport, the whole crowd sees it. If you’re unfair, everybody knows."

She was also upfront about the difficulty of being a wrestling parent.

"Watching your son lose a wrestling match is pretty much as difficult as watching a lion pick off a baby gazelle on the Discovery Channel. Every single fiber of your mommyness will want to run out on the mat and save your baby."

But it's that one-on-one challenge, as Quintonn also referred to in riding rodeo, that Karri said prepares participants for the real world.

"Each child is unique, and will learn in unique ways about how to live life. For some, music may be the discipline that carries them into responsibility. For others, basketball. For still others, math. But our job as parents is to figure out what will help our children learn the valuable life lessons they need before we send them out the door as adults. That means encouraging them to try things so they can find a passion. To find a fit. So, more than anything, I encourage you to find that thing."

The Lunsford family has been told that the Junior NFR Mini Bareback Riding World Championship will be broadcast on RFD-TV and online at www.FloRodeo.com. Quintonn is scheduled to compete Thursday Dec. 1, starting at 8 a.m.. Qualifiers are Saturday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m., and Finals are Sunday, Dec. 4, at 3:15 p.m.