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Published June 27, 2009, 01:00 PM

Bull ride will highlight local July 4th festivities

This year, the Professional Bull Riders Challenger Tour will celebrate 31 years of professional bull riding July 2-4 in Park Rapids. The gates open at 5 p.m. with the show starting at 6:30 p.m.

By: Anna Erickson, Park Rapids Enterprise

This year, the Professional Bull Riders Challenger Tour will celebrate 31 years of professional bull riding July 2-4 in Park Rapids.

The gates open at 5 p.m. with the show starting at 6:30 p.m. at Double J Rodeo Grounds on Highway 34 east of Park Rapids. The event is rain or shine.

Each night event-goers can see between 40 and 50 bull rides, featuring some of the best bucking bulls, said producer Randy Jokela. About 100 bulls are hand-selected and brought in for the bull ride from North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

During halftime the crowd will once again be wowed by the wild and crazy Moto X riders, he said.

“It’s a good idea for people who want to see a little bit of pre-show Moto X to get there by 6,” Jokela said.

After the halftime show, the popular sheep-riding event for kids will entertain participants and spectators. Kids ages 5 to 7 years old can participate. A limited number of spots are available. Sign up by calling 732-5587.

The bull riders are tremendously talented, Jokela said, but the cowboy protecters shouldn’t be overlooked.

Kelby Pearah, of Mansfield, La., and Nevada Miller, of Mandan, N.D. have the dangerous job this year of protecting the bull riders.

“They’re a tremendous pair, probably the best athletes in the arena,” Jokela said.

This year’s “funny guy” barrel man is Brian Potter.

“He is, without a doubt, one of the best in the country,” Jokela said.

Andy Stewart, of Monroe, La., will return as the announcer for the Park Rapids PBR event.

Other activities during the three-day rodeo include cowboy poker, where four people volunteer to win cash prizes by sitting in the arena with a bull. The last person in the chair is the winner. Regional bands October Road and Switch will perform at dances held each night under the pavilion immediately after the rodeo.

Having the rodeo coincide with the Fourth of July festivities is not an accident.

“This has become our pride and joy,” Jokela said of the Park Rapids bull ride. “Rodeo is America’s original sport and it’s a perfect time to do this, around the Fourth of July.”

For tickets, people can go online at www.parkrapidsbullride.com for a savings on each adult ticket. They can also be purchased at Coldwell Banker, State Bank of Park Rapids, KDLM in Detroit Lakes and Wadena Super One for a discount. Thursday, July 2 is Pepsi Night with all kids’ tickets sold at a discount. For more information, call 732-5587.

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