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CEDAR CITY— A southern Utah family is mourning the loss of their son after he was killed in a bull-riding accident.
It happened Friday in Cedar City.
Sarah Draper said her 17-year-old son was living out his dream of being in rodeos. And, while she will miss the boy everyone describes as "the life of the party," she says he had never been happier than the last few months when he started riding bulls.
"(He was) very, very happy, energetic, very fearless," Draper told KSL-TV with a smile.
The teen wanted to be a professional bull rider, and since finding his passion, he didn't look back. But the adrenaline junkie had a softer side, too.
"He was always so caring and always looked out, made sure everybody was safe all the time," said Sareena Draper, William's sister.
William Draper was the second-youngest of 11 children. His siblings say he was the thrill-seeker. Last Friday, he left in a rush to go practice bull-riding.
"I heard him and I was like, 'Do you want me to help you load up your stuff?' He was like, 'Sure.' Then he drove off," said his younger brother, Ben.
An hour later, the 17-year-old died.
William's friends describe him as the guy that "has your back" and as a hard worker.
"He was always motivated, a lot of motivation," said one friend who loved spending time with the aspiring bull rider.
Some of this group watched as William took that last fall. It's hard for them to believe he's gone, but say memories will keep him alive.
"He was a goofball, very much a goofball," said one friend.
For the family, they will miss the energy he brought to everyone around him.
"I'm mostly gonna miss that peaceful disposition and gratitude," said his mom. "Outstanding character, just so thoughtful, very very considerate."
The family lost their father just six months ago and could use help with funeral costs. They've set up a GoFundMe* page.
*KSL.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.