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Bold bull riders and rodeo action converge in PR over July 4 weekend

Dirt will fly at the Headwaters Xtreme Bulls and PRCA Rodeo, held July 4-6 at the Jokela ProWest grounds. (Enterprise file photo)

Little ol' Park Rapids becomes Minnesota's "Rodeo Capital" over the Fourth of July.

The Headwaters Xtreme Bulls and PRCA Rodeo barrels into town July 4-6 at the Jokela ProWest grounds, located east on Hwy. 34.

It's three nights of rip-snorting bulls and the nation's top cowboys seeking thrills and high-stakes money. Rodeo action includes bucking broncos, barrel racing and more.

Because of the amount of professional rodeos held over the Fourth of July, it's called "Cowboy Christmas," said Randy Jokela, event founder and a Park Rapids High School graduate.

"Last year, there were 29 PRCA-sanctioned rodeos and Xtreme Bull events across the country and Canada over that 10-day period," he said.

Since Park Rapids is PRCA sanctioned, all points earned in the events help contestants qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo held in Las Vegas each December.

Qualifying bull rides and rodeos are held in Arizona, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and even Calgary, Canada. "That's why we get some top contestants here — because they start aiming north. They're coming through Arizona, Wyoming, and they're coming this way. We get them on the run," Jokela said.

The two-day Xtreme Bulls event July 4-5 in Park Rapids features 40 new competitors each night. Feisty bulls and a fistful of dollars attract the best contestants.

"Last year, we exceeded $100,000 in prize money. That's why we get the top dogs," Jokela said.

Among them was Sage Kimzey, who had his best Xtreme Bull season in 2018, winning $79,797 overall and his fifth world champion title. He was bucked off in the Headwaters Xtreme Bulls finals last summer.

"What is really incredible for Minnsota, and I'm sure it's never happened before, in Park Rapids last year we had all three of the rough stock winners — bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding. All three of the eventual world champions rode in Park Rapids. We're proud of that. That's never happened here," Jokela said.

A full slate of rodeo action runs July 6 — from bareback, saddle bronc and steer wrestling to calf roping, barrel racing, team roping and bull riding.

Gates open at 5 p.m., rain or shine.

Freestyle Moto X riders will perform nightly.

Kids, ages 5 to 7, can sign up for sheep riding. Parents must register their child online in advance.

Live bands will entertain under the pavillion all three nights, including Drop Tailgate and Copperhead Creek.

Advance, discounted and VIP tickets are available at www.parkrapidsbullride.com, along with more information.

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