(Pictured) Competitors take a moment to say a cowboy’s prayer before the start of the 2015 New Year’s Eve Bullarama event at the North Thompson Agriplex in Barriere.
The upcoming 5th annual New Year’s Eve Bullarama and Dance in the North Thompson Agriplex has created quite a bit of excitement within the community of Barriere and surrounding areas over the past four years and 2016 is no different. Tickets are quickly being scooped up not just locally but throughout the southern Interior and as far away as Alberta, Fort St. John and Washington.
If you have never attended a Bullarama, organizers say you will be in for an evening of thrills and first class entertainment.
What is this Bullarama all about?
The New Year’s Eve Bullarama in Barriere is professional bullriding at its finest and is sanctioned by Canadian Bull Riders.
First and foremost the rodeo event of bull riding is when a cowboy pits his riding ability and strength at trying to ride a 1,600 to 1,900 pound rodeo bull for eight seconds. The rides are judged professionally, and scored accordingly, not just on how well the cowboy rides, but the bull also receives a score on how well he bucks. The total of both the cowboy and the bull give the score for that ride. Needless to say, the better a bull bucks and tries to throw his rider, the better the final score will be for the cowboy if he can stick the eight seconds required.
The bulls of stock contractor S&E Bucking Bulls in Kamloops, will again be on hand for the 2016 New Year’s Eve event, and S&E partner Ed Lebourdais says he expects to have approximately 40 bulls on site. He notes the event will run with two go rounds of 20 rides in each, with the Champion cowboy of the evening taking home an added purse of $5000.
LeBourdais says he started raising bulls back in 1981, and then started buying bucking bulls to use for practice rides in partnership with Shaan Perry. “We had 600 cows at the time,” said LeBourdais, “We’d ridden pretty much every cow on the place, and decided we needed to get some bulls. Then we got some Brahma cows and started raising our own bulls.”
He notes that the bucking traits you are trying to produce in your calves require that both of its parents, the bull and the cow, can buck. “That’s why you buck [ride] both,” said the cowboy, “You don’t want mean bulls either. You want a bull that goes out into that rodeo arena and does his job. A mean bull is just too hard to work with. A bull is an athlete, and we treat them as such.”
He says the bull calves born at their ranch don’t start being asked to buck until they are at least three years old. Once they become experienced in the arena, they get to “go out and buck with the big boys”.
Lebourdais says once a bull knows what is expected of him they get pretty excited when they see the cattle liner starting to load up for a rodeo event. “We had one bull called Formula 51 who actually would jump out of six foot high pens to get back into the pen where we were loading the bulls because he wanted to go so much. I could even take the trailer out and park in his pen and he would jump right in on his own.”
“Rodeo bulls teach you respect,” said the cowboy, “And in today’s market good bucking bulls aren’t worth thousands of dollars, they’re worth tens of thousands of dollars. It takes many years to create a good bucking bull breeding program, but it sure is good to see that little calf grow up to become an exceptional athlete and a star in the arena.”
S&E Bucking Bulls are now making a name for themselves in arenas across Western Canada, including the Calgary Stampede.
Tickets for the New Year’s Eve Bullarama, which also features a dance in the heated Agriplex banquet hall, can be purchased in Barriere at Country Feeds or the North Thompson Star/Journal, in Clearwater at The Times office, and in Kamloops at The Horse Barn. You can also purchase online at: www.eventbrite.ca.
The event is presented by the North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo Association and is a fundraiser for the Farm Kids Scholarship Fund and the North Thompson Agriplex building fund.
If you want to find out more about S&E Bucking Bulls look them up on Facebook. Find out more about the North Thompson Agriplex on Facebook or go to www.fallfair-rodeo.com.