- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

CODY, Wyo. (AP) - In preparation for his first season of T-ball this spring, Kasen Asay picked out a pair of cleats.

But when the salesperson asked if the shoes were for baseball the 4-year-old responded, “No, I’m fighting steers.”

And that’s just what he’s been doing most nights at the Cody Nite Rodeo this summer, which isn’t much of a surprise to those who know him.

Bulls run in his blood, reported the Cody Enterprise (https://bit.ly/2aKPMm5). His dad is pro bull rider Kanin Asay and bullfighter Dusty Tuckness is a close family friend.

Depending on the day, Kasen wants to both ride and fight bulls when he gets older. More recently he’s been leaning toward fighting them.

“Uncle Dusty is who he looks up to and wants to be just like,” Kanin said. “This has been Kasen’s idea. He’s been raised around it all his life and surrounded by it 24/7. It’s something we support as long as he’s interested.”

Kanin said Kasen shows no fear around the large animals, which has caused concern for his parents from time to time.

“We know we have to watch him around bulls,” he said. “They don’t see him, and their size and force doesn’t scare him. He has no fear.”

Tuckness made Kasen the baggies he wears in the arena for a Halloween costume a few years back. The baggies sport a variety of patches including Bullfighters Only and Team Wyoming.

“Dusty is his big hero,” mom Sydney said. “He plays with him and spoils him a lot too.”

Kasen said the six-time Bullfighter of the Year also gave him some tips for fighting steers.

“He showed me how to step around them,” he said. “Then I give them (the steer riders) the rope and run fast to get it.”

He’s even been in the arena with Tuckness.

“He fighted with me,” Kasen said. “He’s cool and showed me how to fake.”

Kasen also has some experience with bull riding. Sydney said a few years ago he got to sit on an old mini bull named “Spud.” Kasen was on the bull three times.

“He loved it,” she said. “He rode the bull three times in the chute. The third time it was dumping rain and he still wanted to get on. There was no fear or hesitation.”

He also won mutton bustin’ during a rodeo earlier this year in Texas and received a buckle. To get his buckle, Kasen had to kiss Miss Rodeo Texas, which he said was “not fun.”

Mom disagrees though.

“You loved it,” she told him. And Kasen only smiled in response.

Before each rodeo bullfighter Justin Josey does Kasen’s makeup.

“It’s OK on my face but I have to scrub hard to get it off,” he said.

At the end of the rodeo he goes out front with the bullfighters to sign autographs, which is one of his favorite parts, Sydney said.

During a recent June rodeo he ran out to participate in the calf scramble and said afterward, “I about had it. I almost got its ear and twisted it.”

Then it was time to get down to business. Josey carried Kasen out into the arena, raising him above his head when Kasen was introduced to the crowd.

“I waved at all the people,” he said.

Josey set Kasen on the ground in preparation for the riding to begin, holding his hand. Then the first steer came out of the chute and Kasen took off to collect the rider’s rope.

“He said good job and don’t get hooked,” Kasen said of Josey. “He’s cool and tells me to run fast.”

The young steer fighter showed no fear, and at one point it appeared Josey had to hold him back so he didn’t get too close to one of the animals coming out of the chute.

During the event, Kasen said one steer came close to him but he knew just what to do.

“The white and black one got close but I watch for him and I just step around him.”

When it was over, Kasen was pumped up on adrenaline and said he “did a good job” and wasn’t nervous.

Then a friend waved him over, prompting the end of the interview.

“No more questions,” he said as he ran off to play.

___

Information from: The Cody Enterprise, https://www.codyenterprise.com

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