Rodeo returns to Park Rapids; Professional rodeo added to nation's top bullride
The 34th annual Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Touring Pro Division Bull Ride July 4-5 will be followed by the return of the of Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) ProRodeo July 6-7.
"The rodeo was in our roots," said Randy Jokela. "We had a rodeo for 25 years in a row in Park Rapids."
Just shy of 10 years ago Jokela ProWest switched to solely a PBR bull ride due to the tremendous popularity nationwide, he explained.
"We have been thinking of bringing a rodeo back, and with this year's Fourth of July on a Wednesday, it was the perfect opportunity," Jokela said.
Both events - PBR and PRCA ProRodeo - draw some of the best cowboys and cowgirls to northern Minnesota.
Jokela ProWest produces Minnesota's largest PBR event each year just east of Park Rapids. The addition of the PRCA ProRodeo will make Park Rapids an even bigger draw the week of the Fourth of July, Jokela said.
Bull riders participating in the PBR are hoping to qualify for the finals. The bull riding events in Park Rapids has typically been three days. With the bull riding condensed to two evenings, riders have a chance to win even more money, Jokela said.
The PRCA ProRodeo has participants hoping to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev. That event is the largest in the nation and millions of dollars are given away.
Fans who follow the PBR and PRCA on ESPN and CBS will recognize the same top cowboys, cowgirls and livestock at the Touring Pro Division Bull Ride and PRCA rodeo. Park Rapids has become legendary for its hospitality, all-American holiday atmosphere and energized crowds.
The nation's top contestants also hope for a spot here, too, because it's a retreat from the heat of venues in states like Texas and Arkansas. The bull ride features up to 40 rides per night. The top 10 scorers will get an extra bull ride in the finals.
In addition to seeing live, heart-stopping action as cowboys go after that eight-second, scoring ride at the PBR bull ride, audiences return year after year to enjoy the pageantry of the opening ceremonies and kids amateur muttin' bustin' (sheep riding) events.
This year, Walmart's Moto-X daredevil motorcycle shows on Wednesday and Thursday feature three extreme riders from Chicago, Ill. There will be nightly dances featuring two bands.
World-renowned clown John Harrison will be the rodeo clown July 5, 6 and 7 and Wesley "Hippie" Engelkes will entertain audiences July 4. A special military salute will happen on the Fourth of July.
The PRCA rodeo event will feature saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping and women's professional barrel racing. Cowboy and cowgirl athletes, skilled horses and riders, and arena action will entertain spectators Friday and Saturday, July 6-7.
The rodeo will feature entertaining acts throughout.
The gates open at 5 p.m. with shows beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets will be available soon at www.parkrapidsbullride.com and area businesses.