By Anna Erickson
Big changes are in store for the 36th annual Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Challenger Tour Bull Ride.
The Jokela ProWest Production Committee is excited to announce new dates for 2014 as well as national touring music acts each night. The new dates are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 10-12 at the Double J Arena in Park Rapids.
Traditionally held over the 4th of July, the event date has been changed this year to showcase and accommodate the top riders in their quest for valuable points that may move them up the leader board and help to qualify them for the PBR Finals held annually in Las Vegas, Nev.
After years of contemplating a different weekend, JPWP committed to the new dates this year to tie into easy routing for the Calgary Stampede and other big dollar rodeos. The PBR Headquarters in Pueblo, Colo. is enthusiastic about the change, says producer Randy Jokela.
“These top contestants try to compete in as many bull rides as possible in a three day period,” he said. “And with the date change, the top bull riders heading to Calgary will put Park Rapids on their schedule. We believe the change will give us more of the top 50 bull riders.”
Annually the largest bull ride in the country over the Fourth of July weekend, the event will continue to be the largest bull ride in the country over the new dates.
“We’re not only pleased about the competitors we’ll be bringing in but it will also help out the Park Rapids community by adding another weekend of events during the summer,” Jokela added.
The bull ride will no longer be competing with 4th of July events around the Park Rapids area.
Last year’s winner, Cody Nance, of Paris, Tenn., collected $14,841 and valuable points that moved him into the number 1 position in the world following Park Rapids. The top 40 entries are accepted each performance with the eight best rides qualifying for the short go nightly.
Former world champions are commonly included in the line-up and last year bull riders from 22 states, Canada, Australia, Mexico and Brazil competed. New competitors are featured at each of the three days for the Jokela ProWest-produced event.
The majority of the over 100 bulls are furnished by Chad Berger Bulls of Mandan, N.D., three-time PBR contractor of the year. Five other stock contractors’ top bulls are selected from western states, many with names as recognizable as the athletes climbing on them. If you watch the PBR on CBS Sports or other networks many of the cowboys along with bovine stars will be recognizable.
The venue in Minnesota is a welcome retreat from the heat of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and other southern states that also host PBR events.
Audiences return year after year to enjoy the pageantry of the opening ceremonies that complements the “Toughest Sport on Dirt.”
The new nightly PBR Bull Ride “After Party” Dance & Concert will feature touring national music acts and Nashville recording artists.
Center Stage Productions will providing a Stageline 24 x 32 stage for the concert series and a separate stage the dance band that will be set up at the pavilion. Advance discounted tickets will be available at www.parkbullride.com soon.
Hay Creek Entertainment is coordinating with Jokela-Pro West on the entertainment. The lineup includes:
Thursday, July 10
Side Stage: Incredibly Real, https://www.facebook.com/IncrediblyReal. This is a young band of outstanding and popular local musicians.
Main Stage: Jeremiah James Korfe, http://jeremiahjameskorfe.com/. He is star of CMT’s Sweet Home Alabama and a Minnesota native.
Friday, July 11
Side Stage: Jeremiah James Korfe, http://jeremiahjameskorfe.com/.
Main Stage: Chris Janson, http://chrisjanson.com/index.php/about. Janson is a hot new Nashville recording artist. He is a featured performer at the 2014 Main Stage at WeFest and was a headliner at Moondance Country Jam in 2013.
Saturday, July 12
Side Stage: Farmers Daughters, http://www.tfdcountry.com/. This is a dynamic band featuring female lead vocals.
Main Stage: David Lee Murphy, http://www.davidlee.com/home/. He is the sensational Nashville singer/songwriter with many top 10 hits including the smash hits “Dust on the Bottle,” “Party Crowd,” Out With a Bang,” “Everytime I Get Around You,” “Are You Going to Kiss Me or Not” (Thompson Square), “The More I Drink” (Blake Shelton), “Big Green Tractor” (Jason Aldean).
Go to www.parkrapidsbullride.com for updates, details and ticket info for the bull ride and concerts/dances in the near future. The events are rain or shine.