Meet the Black Bull Rider Taking the Sport by Storm — and Starring in a New Snapchat Series

Ezekiel Mitchell always wanted to be a cowboy — even if he had to teach himself.

The 23-year-old, whose life is the focus of a new Snapchat series Life By the Horns, was so sure bull riding was his calling that he turned to YouTube videos to learn the tricks of the high-octane sport.

"I did play football for a little bit and I ran track," Mitchell, a Texas native, recounts of his youth to PEOPLE. "I enjoyed both of those, but ultimately my love was with [something else]."

Unfortunately, no one in Mitchell's family had experience in bull riding: "I didn't have anybody in my immediate family that I could talk to or ask any questions about it."

It led him to a YouTube page that covered the basics of the sport and beyond, with Mitchell trying to emulate what he saw and reading up on bull riding and the animals at the center of it whenever he had the chance to check out a book from the school library.

Training, he says, started with a junior bull — a smaller animal than what the adult pros ride — and a bucking barrel, A.K.A. a rig that simulates the actions of a bull. Mitchell's was homemade, he says. He coupled using the barrel with bareback horse riding and cardio.

Now, Mitchell is ranked 32nd on the Professional Bull Riders circuit. He's won nine events, and he has his eyes set on eventually becoming a PBR world champion.

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Being Black in a sport mostly dominated by White athletes, Mitchell says, has rarely introduced obstacles in his career. He tells PEOPLE that the rodeo "is a big family."

"All the people around me really cared about was whether I could ride good or not," he explains now. "And that was pretty much it in a nutshell — I mean, there's some instances where we'll be in some town in the middle of nowhere, there are people that are small-minded, but for the most part, I have not encountered that much.

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He adds, "If you're man enough to be able to do this, then, we don't look at color or anything like that."

Mitchell's obviously got what it takes, as he faces down 1,500 lb. bulls.

"I wouldn't ever say that I really get nervous as far as getting on [the bull]," he says. " But I know that things can change in the blink of an eye. … I'm more so nervous to lose than anything, I'm just ready to go and I'm ready to win."

That bravery is on display in Life By the Horns, which Mitchell is grateful to be a part of for the opportunity to "bring awareness to how much we love and care for our animals."

Tor those unfamiliar with bull riding who might want to tune in, he explains, "It's real life and death circumstances, and there's not an experience like it."

Produced by 21st Street Creative & Beneficial Entertainment, the 10-episode docuseries premiered on Feb. 20, with new episodes launching every other day, only on Snapchat's Discover.

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