Rush of Riding Bulls Grips Wells Teen
World Champion Eyer Morrison dreams of a career riding bulls
By Dianna Troyer
Eyer Morrison settles onto the back of a bull. He wonders how many seconds he can hold on after it explodes from the bucking chutes, leaping, plunging, and spinning, trying to dislodge him.
“No matter how many times I’ve done it, riding bulls is such an adrenaline rush,” Eyer says. “Every bull is different, so you never know what kind of ride you’ll have. Will he buck enough so I can get a pile of points? You never know, but hope so.”
Although only 14, Eyer is already an expert at the sport. For several years, he has trained at his family’s ranch north of Wells.
In June, Eyer won the title of World Champion Junior High Bull Rider at the National Junior High Finals Rodeo in Des Moines, Iowa. He scored 211 points. That was 8 points higher than the second-place rider.
“At first, it seemed unreal that I won,” he says. “When they started taking photos and awarding the prizes, it started to sink in. I realized that all the practicing I’ve done for the past three years paid off. I couldn’t stop smiling.”
Eyer won $2,000 in college scholarships and $1,300 in cash and gift cards. The fender of a hand-tooled Slone saddle proclaims his championship title.
He was named an ambassador for the American Hat Co.
“That’s pretty cool,” he says. “I can pick a free felt and a straw hat once a year.”
Other sponsors provided prizes: Cinch clothing, Corral cowboy boots, Bex sunglasses, a leather jacket, gear bag, and a Yeti cooler.
Eyer also placed 10th in goat tying, 13th in bareback steer riding, and 30th in saddle bronc steer riding. The buckles he won were added to trophy cases in the family living room.
As his father, Mike, drove him into Wells the last Monday of June, they were greeted by a parade.
“Dad told me something would be going on for me but didn’t say what,” Eyer says. “I have no idea who arranged it all. I really appreciate all the people who came out and had signs and were waving and cheering.”
Rodeo fans in Wells will have plenty to cheer for when Eyer joins the Wells High School rodeo team as a freshman this fall. He has already won five state championship titles.
After the 2021 Nevada Junior High Rodeo season ended, Eyer was the Nevada State All-Around Cowboy. He was also state champion in saddle bronc steer riding, bareback steer riding, bull riding and goat tying.
“I hope to keep on performing at a championship level in high school,” Eyer says. “When I’m competing, I think of it as being no different from practice, so that way I don’t get nervous. I keep a positive mindset and believe in myself.”
Eyer says rodeo—and specifically bull riding—will be a lifelong passion.
“I’d like to compete for a college rodeo team and become a professional bull rider one day,” he says.
To become a better bull rider, Eyer analyzes videos.
“I study different riding styles and bulls’ movements,” he says.
His favorite professional bulls are Dillinger and Trick or Treat.
“Dillinger is thrilling to watch because he bucks so much that riders can get a pile of points,” Eyer says. “Trick or Treat just looks wild and scary like old-school rodeo bulls.”
Besides riding bulls, Eyer hopes to own a rodeo stock company. He already has two 8-year-old bulls, Magic Carpet Ride and Mister Twister. They were former stars on the Professional Bull Riders circuit. He bought them from a family friend in Reno last summer with rodeo prize money he had saved for several years.
“I practice on them, and they’re good for teaching others who want to get started,” Eyer says. “They’re gentle when I give them grain. You can walk up to them and scratch them. In the arena, though, they know their job and buck.”
His mother, Brigett, says Eyer worked hard to win the world championship title. “He’s been practicing for years on a mechanical bucking bull we have and on real bulls as much as possible,” she says. “We’re so excited for him.”
For Eyer and his extended family, rodeo is a way of life. His grandparents, parents, uncles and cousins have won rodeo titles, too. His parents met while on the College of Southern Idaho’s rodeo team.
“Our family eats, drinks and sleeps rodeo—for generations,” says Eyer’s grandmother, Dayla Morrison. “We love it. Eyer’s dedication really paid off with this honor.”
Brigett says competing on the rodeo circuit is a big commitment for the family.
Eyer’s siblings, Arlee, 16, and Olen, 12, also compete.
“We travel a lot and keep each other motivated,” Brigett says. “The best time is being in the practice pen together. There’s no stress or performance pressure. We can just enjoy being together.”
Although successful at many rodeo events, Eyer says bull riding is by far his favorite.
“I love everything about the sport,” he says “I can’t wait to see where it will lead me.”