Spills and chills

PBR Discovery Tour bull riding entertains at Moffat County Fairgrounds

The best bull riders in the west put their talents on top of rampaging bulls Saturday during the Professional Bull Riders Discovery Tour.

The PBR tour was one of the Grand Olde West Days featured events at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.

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The grandstands were about two-thirds full as the sun gave all those in attendance a bright orange sunset in time to watch more than 30 cowboys vie for prize money.

Spud Jones of Tohatchi, N.M., took home $3,612 after holding onto his bull for eight seconds in the championship round.

"I was just telling myself don't fall on the whale and keep going as long as possible," Jones said afterward.

"Whale" is a bull riding term for when a rider falls off and the bull begins to kick and attempt to throw the rider.

Wayne "Wild Man" Wagner, of Craig, and Jake Booco, of Hayden, represented the Yampa Valley region.

Booco, soon-to-be 23-years-old, turned professional at 18. On Saturday, he attempted to ride "Wicked Willy" before being thrown off.

"I know I wasn't on there very long. He knocked the wind out of me," Booco said. "This was my first time on this bull and I think he's only been out five or six times."

As part of the PBR, Booco logs his fair share of miles.

Last week, he won $1,000 in Pueblo and after heading from Craig to Grandby, he will compete next week in Rome, Ga.

"I broke my femur last year and had a 14-inch rod inserted into my leg," he said. "I am just beginning to get back in the swing of things again."

Neither Booco nor Wagner advanced to the final round of 10 after relatively short rides.

J.W.Winklepleck, of Strasburg, was the brightly colored "barrel man" in charge of entertaining the crowd.

A clown since 1999, Winklepleck also has been riding bareback for the past 12 years.

"It's kind of a thing I grew up around," said Winklepleck, who's father rode bucking horses years ago.

What is it like sitting inside a padded blue barrel, knowing that a 1,500 to 2,000-pound bull is about to charge you?

"Try standing flat footed and then being hit by an NFL linebacker," he said with a smile. "It's like the powder is lit and you just don't know when it will go off."

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