Some people have hobbies and some have passions.
For South Nodaway’s Trent McGeorge, who graduated from high school Sunday, bull riding is both.
McGeorge will be joining Fort Scott Community College’s Rodeo team next school year, where he will also be majoring in farm and ranch management.
McGeorge said he likes the rush of being on top of the bull.
“It’s kind of like in basketball when the ball is in your hands and your team is down one with 10 seconds to go,” he said. “It’s the same way in bull riding. You get that same do-or-die feeling when you are on top of the bull. That’s what I like about it so much.”
McGeorge wasn’t aware that you could go to college and compete in rodeo at the same time until he got a call from friend and Sheridan, Missouri, native Ryan Smyser, who told him about the program. Smyser and Maryville native Henry Hatfield are also on the FSCC rodeo team.
McGeorge said he loved the town and the campus when he took a weekend visit to Fort Scott, which is about a three-hour drive from Maryville and has a population of 8,087 according to the 2016 census.
McGeorge has competed in rodeo events throughout high school in Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Kansas. He has suffered plenty of torn muscles as well as a broken collarbone and has been knocked unconscious on numerous occasions.
While he was forced to take time off from rodeo to recover from various injuries, he never gave any thought to quitting.
“That’s just part of the game,” he said. “You just have to grit your teeth and get through it. You can’t play the game if you can’t take the pain.”
McGeorge will be joining a college rodeo program with a competitive history under coach Chad Cross.
He has been named Central Region Coach of the Year twice since he took over the program in 1996 and was named National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Coach of the Year in 2015.
Cross already has a fan in McGeorge.
“I love the coach,” he said. “Coach Cross is in it to make everyone better. If you don’t come out of it better at whatever it is you do, then you probably wasted your time.”
Cross is excited to have McGeorge joining the team next season.
“I can tell bull riding is a passion of his, and it has to be,” he said. “You have to be really dedicated. He’s already really talented and also has a lot of potential. We’re excited for him to be joining us at Fort Scott.”
McGeorge said he plans on trying to enter a professional rodeo circuit after college, so he can start competing for money, but if that doesn’t pan out, he plans on joining his older brother Trestan McGeorge in Trestan’s Automotive shop.