Soldier, College Graduate, Deputy Sheriff, and First Frontier Bull Riding Champion: Meet Austin Beaty!
A few titles on Austin’s resumé are Liberty High School graduate (Virginia), Purdue University graduate, soldier deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Specialized Warfare Unit member, VA Army National Guard member, Deputy Sheriff for Bedford County, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association member, and currently, he is your 2019 First Frontier Circuit Finals Rodeo Bull Riding champion.
Austin grew up in Bedford, Virginia. As a kid, Austin showed horses and was active in 4H and FFA. It was around the time he turned 12 years old he got bored with showing horses and told his mom he wanted to ride bulls. Naturally, like most mothers, her reaction to this news wasn’t super positive. Austin ended up pursuing a few rodeo schools to learn to ride bulls. There was one school, in particular, put on by the Gaither Brothers in Boonsboro, VA. The tuition for this bull riding school was $400. Austin’s mother said, “If you can raise the money for the school’s tuition, you can participate.” That was a significant amount of money for a 12-year-old boy. Austin had a hobby of playing paintball at the time. He ended up selling his paintball equipment and one horse saddle, and with that, he made enough to go. He was entered and was the only first-time student they had. The first bull Austin got on and rode was from Branded Bar 18, a bull named Droopy. “I rode for the entire eight seconds on my first bull. The same day, I got on another bull and was bucked off and learned a lot since it was a humbling experience. The next day, I rode 112, a big brindle bull. They entered all the students into a contest, and I was the only one to cover my bull, so I won my first belt buckle.”
Austin has been riding for 15 years now. In between his bull riding career, he has served our country fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Austin defines the circumstances he fought in as, “… very hot. Enemy conditions were very active. We would be sleeping, and they would be bombing our base of FOB (Fort Operating Base). This was all done mainly at night since the enemy moved at night to not be exposed. We would run a minimum of three missions per week and had to complete these within seven days time. No mission was ever the same due to foreign enemy tactics. Our goals were conduct route and convoy security. Honestly, we didn’t have any casualties in my platoon. We were fortunate. The worst night we had over there was when we were on an observation post. It was my 19th birthday, and shortly after making a call to my grandfather, we were hit with fifteen impacts. We had to go into hiding since the enemy was extremely close. Luckily, everyone survived that night.”
Since returning home from his two missions in Iraq, Austin has joined the Bedford County Sheriff’s Department. In addition to helping serve his community, he still competes in PRCA bull riding events and within the First Frontier Circuit.
“I’m looking forward to competing in Kissimmee at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo. I want to ride against the best to know I belong. In addition, I really want to go on a guided gator tour.” Austin has set his goals high as he gets ready to pack his bags and head to Kissimmee in just a few days.
We hope you’ll come to support this cowboy and cheer for him since he has served all of us and our great country graciously. You can also meet Austin in person for a photo, an autograph, or simply to shake his hand in our Contestant Autograph Zone. See you March 21-24!