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Published July 01, 2010, 12:39 PM

Park Rapids Professional Bull Riders Challenger Tour starts today

Fan favorite Cord McCoy will participate in this week’s Professional Bull Riders Challenger Tour starting Thursday.

By: Anna Erickson, Park Rapids Enterprise

Fan favorite Cord McCoy will participate in this week’s Professional Bull Riders Challenger Tour starting Thursday.

McCoy, of Tupulo, Okla., is well known among the bull riding scene but is also known for participating in the TV reality show “The Amazing Race” last fall with his brother, Jet.

Cord started riding when he was 5 years old.

“I started out with calves, then moved on to bigger bulls,” he said. “By the time I was in high school I was making money on the bull riding scene.”

He received a full ride scholarship and continues to ride every weekend.

“I just got back from Louisiana, then Park Rapids this weekend,” Cord said. “I’ll go to Calgary in Canada after Park Rapids.”

Cord said he did OK in Louisiana but there were some “pretty ragged bulls.”

He placed second last year in Park Rapids and remembers having one of his best rides here.

“Mesquite Heat was the name of the bull,” Cord said. “Oh yeah, he was a good bull. Tough.”

This year, the Professional Bull Riders Challenger Tour will celebrate 32 years of professional bull riding three nights, from Thursday, July 1 through Saturday, July 3.

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.

Bulls come from all over the country, said Randy Jokela, organizer of the event. A line-up of great bulls attracts the best contestants, he said. The three-day event offers between 40 and 50 rides a night.

Park Rapids has become a legendary location.

“It’s the one they love coming to over the Fourth. It’s not hot and it’s a spot they’ve got to hit if they’re going to win big money on the way to other events like Calgary,” he said.

Cord agreed.

“Park Rapids is always a good time,” he said. “We have some of the best guys from across the country, the world.”

Bull riding is not the only extreme sport at the event. This year those high-flying, back-flippin’ wild and crazy Moto X riders will be back to thrill the audience.

“This is probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest outdoor PBR event,” Jokela said. “Last year we paid out more than any other on the Challenger Tour.”

Four local riders will participate in Saturday’s show. These young men are professionals that are starting to break into the scene, Jokela said. They are Colter Hensel, of Park Rapids, Curtis Tolle, of Park Rapids, Adam Falls, of Backus and Brett Sall, of Detroit Lakes.

After intermission, kids ages 5-7 who want to grow up to be cowboys, have their chance for eight seconds of fame – or longer – on a sheep in the popular amateur event. Spots are filling up. Call 732-5587 to enter.

Cord, along with some of the other riders, will be signing autographs while they are in Park Rapids.

And each night, after the show is over, the top regional band “Switch” will play a variety of music for nightly dances in the Montana Pavilion on the grounds featuring a beer garden. VIP seats are available again this year. For more information, and to order tickets online go to www.parkrapidsbullride.com

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