Brains and brawn will pay for college education
At just five and a half feet tall and a mere 140 pounds, 18-year old Tim Bingham doesn’t often stand out in a crowd – unless he is pitting his skill against a 1,500-pound bull. Then this Honeyville teen is in a class by himself.
One rodeo contractor called him “the best youth talent ever from Utah,” and for good reason. Tim was the top high school bull rider in the state of Utah in both his freshman and junior years. He came in second as a sophomore. He qualified for the national competition all three of those years, as well, earning his highest national ranking as a junior, fifth place.
Now a senior, Tim is serving as president of the Utah High School Rodeo Association (UHSRA) student body. That means he oversees the members of 31 high school rodeo clubs across the state and helps plan the finals, held yearly in Heber City.
Outside of the high school arena, Tim has been a member of the Rocky Mountain Professional Rodeo Association (RMPRA) for the past three years and was named Rookie of the Year at age 16. That same year he earned top cowboy honors while being measured against a much older, more seasoned field of competitors.
Tim’s love of rodeoing and his drive to be the best began at a young age. He began crawling onto the back of calves and bareback ponies at youth rodeos at the age of seven. By nine he had graduated to mini bulls, placing high at nearly every event in the Interwest Miniature Bull Riding Association for the next five years. His parents, Sherm and Gaile Bingham, even purchased some of those miniatures to give their son a practice pen of animals.
“We’ve always been an ‘extreme’ family,” admitted Sherm, “and when the kids wanted to race bikes, we had a motocross track in our back yard. We cheered him on as an all-star soccer player and baseball player. We just continued to support him when he decided to concentrate on bulls.”
By the age of 14, Tim had outgrown the smaller bulls and was eager to move on to the full-size version, nasty horns, hooves and all. He was a top rider in the Wrangler Division of the UHSRA as a 7th and 8th grader, qualifying for those National Finals both years. He suffered a broken ankle before the finals in the 7th grade and was unable to participate.
Surprisingly, the break came from riding a motorized scooter, not from tangling with a bull. But that doesn’t mean Tim hasn’t had his share of rodeo injuries over the years. Although he tends to shrug them off as insignificant, Tim has broken a leg and a hand, collapsed a lung, fractured his skull (his first try on a saddle bronc) and suffered a concussion. Then there was a broken neck this past summer, damage done at a rodeo in Island Park, Idaho.
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