Mutton Bustin’
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Mutton bustin’: the Little League of rodeo country

“She’s a tough girl,” Rowlie Busch says of his daughter, Neilly, who with her brother Ridgewalker is a mutton buster. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Maya Holder, 7, waits patiently for her turn in the mutton bustin’ contest at a rodeo in Santa Fe. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
“Cowboy up, OK?,” Vince Apodaca told his 5-year-old son, Julian, before the boy’s turn at mutton bustin’. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Vince Apodaca comforts his son Julian, 5, before Julian’s brief ride on a sheep. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Julian Apodaca takes off on an unhappy sheep during a mutton bustin’ contest in Santa Fe. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
Julian Apodaca takes a spill. But he hasn’t lost--every participant will walk away with a shiny “Champion” belt buckle. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
A participant takes off on a sheep during a mutton bustin’ contest at a rodeo in Santa Fe, N.M. Children between the ages of 4 and 8 and weighing less than 65 pounds may participate. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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