BELTON — Peyton Bivens, 5, rode around the house on his dad’s back for the past month, but it wasn’t just for entertainment. Bivens was training to compete in a mutton bustin’ competition for the first time Sunday during the 25th Central Texas State Fair at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton.

“I’m gonna hold on tight,” he said of his strategy. “I’m gonna win.”

His dad, Clayton Bivens, said Peyton has been talking about the competition ever since the father and son started watching YouTube videos of other kids participating in the sport.

Although he was nervous before heading down to the arena to compete, Peyton said he’s excited to ride.

“It looks like fun,” he said.

Clayton Bivens, who’s from the country and has been around rodeos his whole life, said he wanted to introduce his son to the rodeo atmosphere to see if he likes it.

“I just want him to experience what I’ve experienced and have a good time,” Clayton Bivens said.

Ashley Bland, convention sales and marketing

coordinator for the Bell County Expo Center, said about 6,000 people came through the gates of the fair Friday, about 11,000 Saturday and more than 11,000 Sunday as the number of visitors grew throughout the weekend.

“It gets bigger and better every year,” she said. “Some of the things stay the same, but some people keep coming back to see the same attractions.”

Vincent Browning, of Liberty, brought his African Watusi, a breed of cattle, to the fair for the sixth year in a row.

With 6-foot-long horns, about 26 inches in diameter, Oliver, 8, drew many visitors who were amazed by what they saw, thinking he was a longhorn.

“I’ve had him since he was born. I’ve been watching him grow,” Browning said. “Most bulls are wild, but he’s gentle.”

Enjoying the excitement around his mutton bustin’ debut, Peyton Bivens said one day he might try his hand at bull riding.

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7549

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at

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