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Noozhawk Rider Hangs On for First Place in Mutton Bustin’ Competition

Four-year-old Lucia Smith of Carpinteria is also chosen as best-dressed cowgirl during Sunday's Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo

[Click here for a gallery from the Fiesta Rodeo.]

Noozhawk-sponsored rider Lucia Smith, 4, of Carpinteria is presented her first-place belt buckle after Sunday's Mutton Bustin’ competition. (Mike Eliason / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara County residents and rodeo fans of all ages gathered Sunday to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo.

Among the attendees were young cowboys and cowgirls eagerly awaiting their time to shine in the Mutton Bustin’ competition.

During this competition, the youngsters, usually 4 or 5 years old, attempt to hang on to a rowdy sheep for as long as possible without being thrown off.

The competition is judged by distance, but usually the cowboys and cowgirls only make it a quarter of the way across the arena.

Lucia Smith, 4, of Carpinteria won this year's competition with the farthest ride, gripping onto her sheep with her arms and legs until she was halfway across the Earl Warren Showgrounds arena.

She won a reader contest to represent Noozhawk in Sunday's event and showed no fear as she stepped out into the arena to compete against boys and girls from throughout the Central Coast.

Her confidence paid off in the end when she beat out 14 other cowboys and cowgirls for the coveted first-place slot. 

Afterward, when asked how the young cowgirl felt, Lucia simply replied “good” and shyly showed her family and friends her champion belt buckle.

Before her victorious ride, she was also chosen as the event's best-dressed cowgirl. 

Noozhawk contributing writer Allyson Werner can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Wyatt Minus of Santa Barbara hits the dirt during his ride in the Mutton Bustin' contest at the Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo on Sunday at Earl Warren Showgrounds. His performance earned him second place. (Mike Eliason / Noozhawk photo)

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