Sul Ross State University now has a world champion-class contender in Aussie Ky Hamilton, and bucking bulls are his specialty.
Rodeo Coach CJ Aragon said, “We haven’t had anybody who’s done as well since the 1980s when Tuff Hedeman and Cody Lambert were here.”
Hedeman was the last world champion from Sul Ross, and Hamilton has a legitimate shot to win the world championship this year.
Aragon noted that this summer Hamilton spent a lot of time training in Bowie with Lambert, his mentor.
From Queensland, Australia, the 20-year-old Hamilton was recruited in 2018 by Aragon when he was rodeo coach at Odessa College. But when Aragon moved on to Sul Ross, it was too late for Hamilton to transfer since he was an international student. After completing the required year in Odessa, the industrial technology major transferred to Sul Ross as well.
Hamilton is currently sitting in first place in rookie of the year standings in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and fourth in the world standings. His hectic schedule involves travel throughout the West, from Kansas to Wyoming to Texas, with many stops in between. And the season isn’t over until the last Sunday in October.
Earlier this year, Hamilton and his Australian teammates finished second to Team U.S. in the PBR Global Cup in Arlington, and last month his team finished third in the PBR Unleash the Beast challenge led by PBR world champion Cooper Davis.
Hamilton said bull riding had always been in his family.
“My grandfather rode bucking horses and bulls when he was younger, and worked on ranches in Australia all his life. My dad did the same thing,” said Hamilton.
Although a self-described city kid, when he was 11, while watching PBR on the telly, he told his dad, “I want to do this.”
His parents supported his endeavor.
“They didn’t know how far I would go, but it was something I loved to do,” said Hamilton. “When you love something that much, you’re going to work as hard as you can to be the best.”
He’s had his share of injuries, but nothing life threatening or serious.
Said Hamilton, “If you’re looking for a coach and a school that supports you in rodeo, if you rodeo and want to be good, I’d say Sul Ross is one of the best places for that. If you knuckle down and do your work in class, they’re going to help you out in the rodeo world. I’d highly recommend Sul Ross, and CJ Aragon as a coach.”