What exactly is mutton bustin'?

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DENVER (KDVR) — It is a sight to behold, watching a young child hang on to a fluffy sheep while it runs around an arena. Mutton bustin’ is a western classic, but if you aren’t from Colorado you might be wondering what exactly it is.

During January, Denver turns back the clock and heads back to the times of the Wild West. The 117th National Western Stock Show is in town, helping to bring out the cowboy and cowgirl in all of us.

The stock show is a premier livestock, rodeo and horse show that offers hundreds of events during its two-week long run. One of those events is the famous mutton bustin’.

Mutton bustin’ is a crowd favorite as children get to play like cowboys and cowgirls.

According to the National Western Stock Show, mutton bustin’ is an event available to kids between 5 to 7 years old who weigh less than 55 pounds. Those picked for the event come out of a chute into the arena riding on a sheep. The sheep will then run in an attempt to shake off the kid.

So, you might be wondering, what are the rules for this event?

The rules are anything goes just as long as the contestants hold on for as long as they can. Once they fall off the sheep, their ride is over.

Mutton bustin’ is just like bull riding, except for the smaller western enthusiasts. And yes, the kids are required to wear a helmet.

The stock show’s mutton bustin’ event kicked off Thursday with 50 cowboys and cowgirls participating.

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