Faron Wahl, Manager.
It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the United States today. And it involves just one seemingly straightforward concept: climb onto the back of a bull and stay there for eight seconds.
Truth is, there’s so much more involved. The principles utilized by bull riding arena judges involve a system of scoring for both the rider and the bull. And the finely-honed skill set exhibited by successful riders is one of careful study and slight adjustments.
Now into its second decade at Prairie Village, the Northern Bull Riding Tour will be making its annual stop here Friday, June 8 at 7:00 pm. It’s a perfect way to kick off the first month of traditional summer.
This sport found its beginnings back in the 16th century, originally stemming from contests of ranch and horsemanship in Old Mexico. Following a few hundred years of evolution, bull riding, along with other rodeo events, came to adopt standardized rules in the 1930’s. That was the missing element needed in a sport ripe for expansion, and the surge of popularity was on.
Today, while still a key component of multi-event rodeo, bull riding can also be found as a stand-alone affair. It draws spectators of all ages, from backgrounds of both rural and city origin. No surprise that a phenomenon known as “the most dangerous eight seconds in sports” would draw a diverse crowd.
And this tour – the one you’ll see Friday night at the village – is a true South Dakota project on a few accounts. While we certainly see contestants here representing neighboring states (and we love that), you’ll no doubt witness a home-grown batch of South Dakota residents aiming for the purse that night.
Many of the great volunteers helping us make this production happen are folks from the Madison Area Chamber Ag Committee. These long-term partners not only provide essential hands-on help the night of the event, they also sponsor admission tickets to many area producers. And our own great bull ride sponsors from right here in this community dig in and assist us directly with the monetary costs involved.
But what really ties this fun event to South Dakota soil is the bucking stock itself. The bulls who will be overnight village guests this Friday come to us from the Bierema Rodeo Company out of White River, SD. The Bieremas are a ranching family making their living in West River cattle country, while simultaneously running their rodeo firm that will bring us these prize bucking bulls right off South Dakota pasture. It doesn’t get any more legitimate than that.
Please join us Friday night – it all starts with a calcutta at 6:30 and the main event beginning at 7:00. There’ll be food and drink available, plus the Madison Fire Department beer tent, a mechanical bull, and more. It’s a fantastic way to wind down your week.
And don’t forget we’ll be kicking off our summer Opera House concerts a week later, Saturday night, June 16. I’ll write more next week about this fabulous trio – the Holy Rocka Rollaz – who left our crowd last summer cheering for serial encores. Tickets can be purchased at our gift shop or by phone at 256-3644. Trust me….this will be a concert performance you won’t want to miss!