Mini but mighty |

Mini but mighty

Talon Ping has been praciticing hard on a borrowed pony to prep for the Junior National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada, Dec. 1-10. Photo courtesy Ping family

It will be more than a decade before young Talon Ping can double down at the tables in Vegas. But his single-digit age isn’t enough to stop him from competing for some big bucks in Tinsel Town.

Ping, age 9, the son of Travis and Katherine Ping of Highmore, South Dakota, will compete in the bareback riding at the first-ever Junior National Finals Rodeo, Dec. 1-10, in Las Vegas, held in conjunction with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Young rodeo athletes will compete in long gos Dec. 1-3, then the top contestants will return for short go performances Dec. 4.

Ping got on a mini bareback horse for the very first time and won a pre-qualifier for the event at the Smokin Guns challenge in Mobridge, South Dakota. He was then able to compete in a qualifying event in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where he hopped on a few more mini-barebacks, winning the long go, the short go and the average.

Thirty-five youth aged six to nine will vie for entry into the short go at the Las Vegas Events Center.

Although he hadn’t ridden bucking ponies, at least not on purpose, until earlier this year, Ping has now been practicing regularly for the Junior NFR.

His dad, Travis Ping, who rode bulls in years past helps Talon. The young Ping also gives the spur board a hard time.

Even though his favorite bareback rider, Steven Peebles, isn’t entered in the WNFR, Ping hopes to cheer on some of the other bareback riders.

Ping enjoys wrestling, playing football and riding bulls when he’s not riding mini barebacks.