Outdoors

They’re competing in a bull riding competition — but they aren’t riding bulls

Lane Toon rides a bull owned by George County’s Colby Pepper and Justin Freeman, along with Terry Williams.
Lane Toon rides a bull owned by George County’s Colby Pepper and Justin Freeman, along with Terry Williams. Todd Brewer Photography

Two Lucedale natives have qualified for the Championship Bull Riding World Finals.

George County’s Colby Pepper and Justin Freeman, along with Terry Williams, will compete in the CBR Bull Team Challenge in Cheyenne, Wyoming on July 22-23. The world champion earns $100,000.

The trio are in the 19th position. They competed in Las Vegas and earned $12,000. The low rating doesn’t bother Pepper.

“We’re young men among pros,” Pepper joked. “We’re working guys who punch a clock and run a few cattle. We’re the biggest underdogs, but everyone starts out the same. We’re glad to be going to the finals. The other bull riders welcomed us. We’re blessed to have good partners with good bulls.”

Pepper, 28, explained the process.

“The hardest thing is explaining to people on the Coast about bull riding,” Pepper said. “We’re trying to inform the people here about bull riding.

“We don’t get on the bulls. We provide the bulls for bull riders to get on. We own the bull team franchise. A team of three bulls compete against other bulls just like the riders. It’s a rider competition as well as a bull competition. .”

The Pepper-Williams-Freeman pairing fell short last year, missing the 2016 CBR World Finals by half a point.

Pairing with Williams, considered a bull guru, gives the team a shot at winning it all. Williams’ resume includes being CBR Stock Contractor of the Year in 2002 and 2004 and a five time PBR Stock Contractor. Williams is from Carthage, Texas.

Pepper and Williams met in Carthage a few years ago and they became fast friends.

“It’s a good friendship,” Pepper said. “If we have any questions, we ask Terry. There is a lot more to the strategy of winning in the CBR Bull team competition than we originally thought.”

Pepper says Bull riding isn’t well-known in the Southeast.

“It’s far fetched you have two guys from this part of the country competing in bull riding,” Pepper said. “Bull riders are usually from Texas, Oklahoma and the west.”

CBR is a professional bull riding organization based in Fort Worth founded by Williams and Texas businessman Joel Logan in 2002. The CBR Finals were held in Jackson from 2006 to 2008.

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones

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