Lauderdale County, Miss. Eight of Dylan Mabry's closest family members and friends have spent hours each day for the past month and a half learning how to do something they thought they would never do: how to ride a bull. One of Dylan's last hobbies was bull riding, a sport his friends say he had a passion for, and now they are doing the same to honor their late friend.
Dylan's girlfriend, Katie Jo Riley, says, "He had started practicing, and he had gotten really good at it, and everybody thought he was crazy for riding bulls, but I guess now that he's gone, we just kind of want to do what he did in remembrance of him."
Tanner Strickland adds, "It's an experience so we can step foot in what Dylan did every day. It's a way to step in his shoes and see how he rode them."
They'll ride a bull for the first time next Saturday night during a benefit at the Lauderdale County Ag Center to raise money for Dylan's family to help cover medical and burial expenses, and they say the training has been tough, but worth it.
Justin Jenkins says, "At first, I got on it and busted my face a few times, but now I've kind of learned the technique a little bit. I've been riding at Lovern's on the weekends."
"It actually is kind of hard, and you're sore after. It takes dedication, and you've just got to have your head in it," said Riley.
Admission for Friday night is free with 4D Barrel Races beginning at 7:30. Armbands for Saturday can be purchased that include Tri-State Bulls and Barrels, live music, and of course, the new amateur bull riders. One of the organizers, Connie Agent says numerous people have spent lots of time planning the event.
"We want everybody to come out and support the boys and everybody that's put so much into this. We've had a lot of community support."
There will be several other ways to donate to the family including a silent auction, t-shirts, and concessions.
More information is available at www.facebook.com/DylanMabryMemorialTriStateBullsBarrels