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Hold your horses: 'Hometown cowboy' preps for first season with Austin's new pro bull riding team

Central Texas native Ezekiel Mitchell is competing with Austin's first professional bullriding team this year. (PBR/Twitter)

Ezekiel Mitchell mounted a bucking bull for his new professional team for the first time on Saturday—but as a bull riding veteran, it wasn't his first rodeo.

"I know the dangers of the sport already," Mitchell said. "The biggest thing is is that we know what can happen, so I just try to worry about all the good that could happen (instead)."

A native of the small town of Rockdale, located about 60 miles east of Austin, Mitchell never thought he'd ride for a team close to home until he signed as a free agent to Austin's first professional bull riding team, the Austin Gamblers, right before it buckles up for its first season this summer.

"To be a part of the first Austin Gamblers team 45 minutes from where I grew up is pretty extraordinary," Mitchell said. "I feel like I'm still home here... and I'm still the hometown cowboy."

Mitchell will represent Austin among 11 other world-class riders—including two-time World Champion Jose Victor Leme—as the team embarks on the first iteration of the PBR Team Series this year. The series features eight elite teams from across the South set to compete in 10 tournament-style competitions, including a three-day tournament and western lifestyle event at Austin's Moody Center Aug. 26-28.

Mitchell says people of all backgrounds should attend the event, which will be the new center's first pro sporting spectacle.

"You don't have to be from the western lifestyle to enjoy bull riding," Mitchell said. "It's a very fun sport, and in my opinion, I think it should be one of the biggest sports in America."

Mitchell and the team will saddle up for one more preseason event on Friday and Saturday in Tryon, North Carolina before the circuit's first season begins July 25-26 in Cheyenne, Wyoming.


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway