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Bloomfield’s Luke Whitley is one tough kid.  He competes in two of the more physically challenging sports, wrestling and rodeo. Let’s start with wrestling.

Luke recently won the individual state championship in the 152-pound weight division of Class 4A. Whitley beat top seed Bode Wooley of Aztec by a 6-4 decision.  It capped off his most successful year on the mat.  Earlier in the season, Whitley also won the Rocky Mountain Invite in Pagosa (CO) and finished second at the Joe Vivian meet involving all classes.

“You learn discipline (with wrestling),” he said.  “It pushes you to your breaking point.  It pushes you to be tough, I guess you could say.”

Tough.  That’s a word Luke is familiar with.

When he’s not taking down opponents on the mat, Luke is fighting bulls.  “My grandpa owns a rodeo company, so I’ve been around it forever,” Luke said.  When it comes to fighting bulls, Luke didn’t hesitate to ask for permission and his father threw him right into the middle of it to see if he was ready.  “I told my dad I wanted to start, so he told me to go stand out in the middle of the arena and they turned the bull out and that’s where it started.”

What is it about bull fighting that appeals to Luke so much?   “It’s a huge adrenaline rush and fun,” he answered.

Are there any similarities between fighting bulls and wrestling?  “You’re on your own and it’s up to nobody but you,” he explained.

So, what’s next for Luke?  He wants to follow his brother to Las Cruces and compete in rodeo at the collegiate level. We know toughness won’t be a problem.



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