By Anna Erickson
The 35th annual PBR Bull Ride will be one to remember, featuring many of the nation’s top bull riders, said Randy Jokela, show producer for Jokela ProWest.
The Professional Bull Riders Challenger Tour will be this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 4-6 in Park Rapids.
Jokela ProWest produces Minnesota’s largest PBR sanctioned bull ride in the nation over the Fourth of July week.
“It will be the most dynamic PBR we’ve ever done in Park Rapids,” Jokela said, including more prize money to be awarded.
This year’s bull riders are amazing and Jokela said there is even a waiting list.
“We’re loaded each day with some great bull riders from around the world,” he said.
Some of the entrants this year include Sean Willingham, of Summerville, Ga., who rode in Park Rapids last year, Travis Briscoe, of Edgewood, N.M., and Billy Robinson, of Galax, Va.
Racer Botkin, a world renowned Professional Rodeo and Professional Bull Riding announcer, will be at this year’s Park Rapids bull ride.
Jokela attributes the high caliber of riders at this year’s bull ride in part to high prize money this year. He has a total of 132 entries, including a waiting list.
Botkin, a 20- year veteran at his craft, has performed to over 5 million fans and is considered one of the country’s top personalities in the rodeo world. Botkin announces PBR televised events as well as PBR Touring Pro events throughout the country.
Fans who follow the PBR on CBS and other national networks will recognize the same top cowboys and bulls at the Challenger Tour Bull Ride. Park Rapids has become legendary for its hospitality, all-American holiday atmosphere and energized crowds. The nation’s top bull riders mark this event down each year as a must-attend event. It’s a retreat from the heat of venues in states like Texas and Arkansas.
This year, riders in the top 40 of the Built Ford Tough Series have the opportunity to compete for points in events in the Touring Pro Division, which includes Park Rapids. Many of the bulls come from Chad Berger in Mandan, N.D., along with other contractors. Many of the bulls used in Park Rapids qualify for the PBR bull riding finals in Las Vegas. There will be about 50 bull rides per night, along with new contestants all three days.
In addition to seeing live, heart-stopping action as cowboys go after that eight-second, scoring ride, audiences return year after year to enjoy the pageantry of the opening ceremonies, Moto X freestyle aerial shows and nightly concerts/dances. Kids’ day is Thursday, July 4.
Registration for kids’ sheep riding, for 5- to 7-year-olds, will be taken online only on a first-come, first-served basis.
Parking is free.
The gates open at 5 p.m. with shows beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets and information can be found at www.parkrapidsbullride.com.