A Rodeo That's More Wool Than Bull

Coming soon to a fairground near you - what may be the ultimate fair attraction.

"There's something about a child and an animal that is just endearing to people. But at the same time they like to see a good wreck," Tommy Giodone said.

They call it "mutton bustin'." It used to be something just farm kids did at rodeo intermissions - until businessman Giodone decided to bring the ewes to all of you, CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports for Assignment America.

"I got to thinking, why not let every kid do this?" he said.

Today, he has three of set-ups touring fairs and festivals across America. For a small entrance fee, any kid six and under and weighing in at less than 60 lbs. can ride - or not ride - as the case may be.

"And I shouldn't say it's funny, but the reality is …" Giodone said.

"It's funny," Hartman said.

"It's funny," Giodone said.

Plus, it's a real competition. Kid who stays on the longest for each heat gets a gold buckle the size of a pack of pop-tarts.

Six-year-old Riley Hamilton has been dreaming of a buckle ever since last year's Colorado state fair.

"Did you mention this to your mom, throughout the year, that you wanted to do this?" Hartman asked Riley.

Riley: "Once."

"Ohhh! One-thousand times, I hear," Hartman said.

"All year long we've been building toward this," his mother Sharon said.

Riley and his mom are typical mutton-busters. Far from being farmers, Sharon is a suburban soccer mom and Riley had never even seen a real sheep before deciding to try to bring home the buckle.

Unfortunately, Riley's first attempt didn't go so well.

His second try - almost worse.

Certainly no one would have blamed Riley if he just quit right then and joined a boy's choir. But no, because there comes a point in every young person's life, when a kid's just gotta prove himself - to himself.

Riley won that buckle, and you can be tonight his head's held high … and his pants, too.
  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.

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