Local boys take on the bulls at the Salem Stampede Rodeo - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Local boys take on the bulls at the Salem Stampede Rodeo

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Friday is opening nigh at the Salem Stampede Championship rodeo.

The bronco's are bucking as cowboys try to hold on for what they say is the ride of their life.

The cowgirls are racing against the clock;.too fast to even keep their hats on.

It’s one of the oldest forms of classic Americana that’s kept thousands coming back to Salem for 47 years.

But for the riders, the rush of rodeo is a way of life, even if for some it's only eight seconds.

"Rodeo has always been a passion of mine. That's for sure,” said local rider Caleb Corvin. “

Everybody thinks its fast. eight seconds don't seem like a lot of time but when you're on the back of one of them it takes tens minutes for you. it's great"

"I just really like the rush, the adrenaline. it gets you going. justgot toa hang on for eight seconds and get that check. I love it," said Justin O’Neal, a local rider from Fincastle.

Taking on the bulls Friday night is 18 year old Caleb Corvin and 21 year old JustinO'Neall both of Fincastle.

It’s a friendship born from the love of rodeo.

Corvin says rodeo is more than about the excitement of riding bulls, it’s about the community of the sport.

 "The best thing about it is, everybody treats each other like family, even if they don't know you. If you need something they'll give it to you. If they need something you'll give it to them. It's real nice coming together as a family," Corvin said.

Tonight is one of Justin O’Neal’s most important shows.  His love of rodeo came from watching the riders here at the Salem Civic Center when he was a little boy.

Now, Friday night he's  preparing for the ride he's been dreaming of ever since.

"Now you are in their footsteps, where they were,” O’Neal said. “I'm kind of nervous, but I'm really excited right now."

And as the little ones got the chance to ride their wooden horses around the ring,maybe one day they’ll be riding real broncos just like these two.

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