(WMC-TV) - In the tranquil countryside of north Mississippi, beyond the farms and beside the barns, there is a dirt ring where 1,800 pound beasts glare angrily.
A dirt ring where belt buckles the size of dinner plates are won. A dirt ring where man conquers a fear of nature that could shake your very soul, eight seconds at a time.
"They talk about horsepower, but there aint nothing like bull power," said 20-year old Ben Cullum.
Cullum has been riding bulls since he was ten years old, and his career is just now peaking. After winning the NIRA Ozark Regional championship, Cullum will compete in the NIRA National Rodeo in Casper, Wyo. in late June.
"I was scared when I was a kid, being that little and getting on something you're looking up at; something that's got horns and hooves the size of your face, it's a pretty scary thing," said Cullum.
Despite the fear of getting hurt, Cullum keeps getting back up on the beasts.
"I ride bulls because I love it, it's my passion," said Cullum. "The lifestyle of being a cowboy. I love the adrenaline rush"
Ben mostly enjoys the feeling of conquering his fears.
"It all comes down to having that feeling of stepping off after you rode the beast and you dominated him," said Cullum.
But Ben does not always conquer the beast.
"I've broken my collarbone...twice," said Cullum."
When you mess with the bull...well, you know the rest.
"He went around to the right, faked back left and I don't remember anything after that, because I caught a horn in behind my head," said Cullum.
But to Ben, the national title buckle is worth the buck.