Penticton has become a must-hit stop on the Bull Riders Canada Inc.
“They want to hit because of the prize money added ($5,000) and the crowd support and the venue that it is,” said PBR president Russell Friend regarding the Bull-A-Rama, which will be at the Penticton Speedway on July 16 starting at 6 p.m. “It’s still in its infancy stages. This event, in particular more than most, has built a reputation quicker because of the production, the location and the fan base.”
Quesnel’s Matt O’Flynn spoke highly of the fans.
“It’s the atmosphere, definitely. The crowd is really into it. As a bull rider it always helps when you’re not riding in front of a bunch of zombies,” said O’Flynn. “You want to be in front of people that are into it. They are screaming and ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘awing’. That’s definitely part of the appeal.”
BRC, which has a 69-event circuit, will have bull riders from New Zealand, Australia and Paraguay competing, as well as Alberta and Saskatchewan. The quality of competition will be strong. O’Flynn, who sits 19th in the BRC standings, said the event will feature top riders from B.C. and Alberta.
Of the top 10 in the BRC standings, Cody Coverchuk (No. 2) of Meadow Lake, Sask., Lane Cork (No. 6), of Quesnel and Will Purcell (No. 7), of Merrijig, Australia are competing. The circuits top rider, Josh Birks of Australia, is currently competing in the Calgary Stampede.
O’Flynn, who will ride Shattered Dreams, has had success in Penticton in the past and is confident he will again. He will also be fresher than other riders as he was forced to take time off after being bucked off a bull in Williams Lake earlier this month. He sustained a cut to his thigh that resulted in several stitches.
“I champing at the bit. I don’t like taking time off,” said O’Flynn, who thanked Penticton for hosting the event and the sponsors who help put it on.
Marlon Williams has been to Penticton before as well. Williams, who resides in Mount Currie, 20 minutes north of Whistler, said it’s a good event to collect points.
“Everybody brings their best to the table. Everybody usually rides good,” said Williams, who sits 19th in the standings after being in the top 10 and will ride Times Up.
Williams is the nephew of former Canadian pro bull rider Burt Williams. Williams, 33, has been riding for 21 years and started when he was 13. The last time Williams competed in Penticton, he advanced to the short round twice.
The BRC is in its fourth season and is striving to become the largest public, Canadian-owned and operated bull riding company in Canada. In 2015, BRC Inc. sanctioned 64 events from British Columbia to New Brunswick paying out over $319,000 in prize money. For more information visit BullRidersCanada.ca.
“We are excited to be hosting this event for the third time,” said Jasmine Aantjes of the Penticton Speedway. “It’s great to see people come to the racetrack and see our venue for something other than car racing. Our hope is that people come for the first time then return to partake in some of our other events throughout the season. It is a great family-friendly event.”
There will also be a petting zoo, which is popular with children, as well as entertainment and a new addition of professional bullfighters.
Tickets for the event can be purchased at the gate on the day of.