The pros are coming

Grand Olde West Days bull ride for professionals

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Sitting yourself down on the back of a 2,000 pound mass of angry, twisting turning fury for an eight-second ride should be left to the professionals whenever possible.

And come Saturday, professionals will be in town as part of the Professional Bull Riding event, held at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

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As professionals, the competitors are riding not only for fame and a paycheck at Saturday's event -- the largest bull-riding event in the area -- but also for points that can earn them a ride in national competitions later in the year.

The biggest money-making event of Grand Olde West days, the PBR is always high on the list of events that can't be missed, organizer Jackie Roberts said.

"You've got to make a certain amount of money to be in the pro-circuit," she said. "The event draws riders from all around the country."

The entries include 16 Colorado riders and three Wyoming cowboys.

Local riders include Jake Booco of Hayden, and Wildman Wagner of Craig.

Stock contractor Hal Burns, of Laramie, is bringing the other athletes -- the bulls.

Thanks to support from major sponsors including Murdoch's, Carhartt and the city of Craig, the bull riding event also features arena funnyman J. W. Winklepleck, who will be inside the arena with the riders, and Les Ohlhauser, who will be announcing from the booth. Their purpose: To entertain spectators with humorous remarks during down time and chute re-loading.

This is the second year the PBR has been part of the Grand Olde West Days, but future plans call for rotating the bull riding with big-name concerts, so next summer will involve singing in place of riding.

The gates open for the PBR event at 6 p.m. Saturday and the riding starts at 7. Tickets are $15 at the gate, or $12 when purchased in advance at Murdoch's, 2355 W. Victory Way, or the Craig Chamber of Commerce, 360 E. Victory Way.

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