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The Professional Bull Riders tour will return to Park Rapids over Fourth of July weekend with 52 rides per night.(Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Rodeo returns to Park Rapids

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The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Touring Pro Bull Ride will return to Park Rapids July 1-3.

"For our 33rd annual, we have some surprises in store " said Randy Jokela, "Of course, the great bulls will be here. We bring in five different contractors and feature the superstar bucking bulls of three-time PBR Contractor of the Year, Chad Berger of Mandan, North Dakota."

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Gates open at 5 p.m. each day with the action starting at 6:30 p.m. - rain or shine.

A line-up of great bulls attracts the best contestants, Jokela said.

"We lease their bulls and after our event, they go on to Cheyenne, Calgary and other big events," he said. "You get the good contestants when they have a chance to win big money and the right bulls to match. People, who follow the PBR on ESPN and NBC, will see the group here."

The three-day event offers 52 rides a night with 156 entries accepted.

Texas native Racer Botkin will announce this year's rodeo. He brings 20 years of experience to the show.

"I've been all over the world doing rodeos," he said in a phone interview. "As an announcer we really want to know who's there to be able to educate the audience."

He has always been a bullriding fan and that makes announcing easy and fun for him.

"This has to be one of the best jobs," Botkin said. "I get to travel the world, bring my kids with me."

He expects the Park Rapids bullride to be a good show, with lots of professional riders and great bulls.

"We are also thrilled that Jerry Norton, of Mitchell, South Dakota is joining our lineup," Jokela said. "Jerry is the 1998 World Champion Bullfighter and having that behind your name is something to be proud of."

Norton will handle the barrel during the rodeo.

The opening performance each night will feature a world famous six-horse hitch. Dave Free will lead the opening with the Color Guard and then a salute will be given to local, active duty soldiers and veterans.

This year, the bullride has reserved stadium seats that are padded. These seats are closest to the bucking chutes.

Also, Sunday is Kid's Day. All kids (11 and under) get in for just $10 and kids five and under get in for free. For the other performances children ages 2 and under get in free.

Bull riding is not the only extreme sport at the event. This year those high-flying, back-flippin' wild and crazy Moto X riders will be back to thrill the audience.

"Watching JJ and his crew fly thru the sky is so much fun - even the contestants love it. The PBR bull riders think they are crazy. That's the pot calling the kettle black," said producer Denese Jokela.

Jay Daugherty, PBR Senior Vice President of Competition said, "The PBR contestants always look forward to Park Rapids. Park Rapids has an event that offers more than a $70,000 added purse. It's our largest event over the big Fourth of July weekend and that combination makes Park Rapids a popular stop."

After intermission, kids ages 5-7 who want to grow up to be cowboys, have their chance for eight seconds of fame - or longer - on a sheep in the popular amateur event. Call 218-732-5587 to enter.

When the show is over, nightly dances will be held in the Montana Pavilion featuring regional favorites "Switch" and straight from Moondance Country Jam, "Smokehouse."

"They promise a "swingin', dancin', boogie woogie party, said Denese Jokela.

Along with hat and boot vendors, a variety of food is available including chili cheese steak, BBQ pulled pork, cheese curds, roasted nuts, burgers, frybread, ice cream and more.

To order and print discounted tickets online directly from Jokela ProWest go to www.parkrapidsbullride.com.

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Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
(218) 732-3364
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