Trail bull riding event bucked

Bull-a-rama's chairman Gord McMartin says a complete overhaul is needed before the bullriding showcase returns

The chair of the Kootenay Chrysler Bull-a-Rama made a tough call this week when he put the brakes on the 14-year event.

“First of all, I want to make it crystal clear that it wasn’t the City of Trail that cancelled the event,” said Gord McMartin. “And it wasn’t the committee. I brought the recommendation to the committee with what I thought should happen with the 14th annual Kootenay Chrysler Bull-a-Rama.

“It was a tough decision but it was made by me.”

Following a sundry of meetings that included a review of the event’s workings, structure, budget and resources, McMartin said a complete overhaul is needed before the bull riding showcase returns.

“I saw that we had to reorganize and reshape how we are going to bring this event,” he said.

“It was me that came to this conclusion. The City of Trail and the committee before me did an awesome job, but things just got away,” he added. “We have to look at it, and it’s not a big deal because things like this have to happen sometimes.”

Something like that did happen in 2003. But that year, problems were kicked up on the other side of the gate.

The Canadian Professional Bull Riders Association fell victim to in-fighting and internal politics which suspended the professional tour for one year.

When local organizers brought the Bull-a-Rama back to the Trail stage the following year, attendance topped 2,000. Since that time, volunteers have worked tirelessly to keep the Bull-a-Rama coming back every April, but ticket sales have slumped and costs have risen.

“This was not an easy decision as we have received unbelievable support for the event from sponsors and fans,” said McMartin.

“Over the last 13 years, the event has also given back to local non-profit groups in the excess of $200,000.

“The committee is very proud of this and we are disappointed that we are not able to proceed with the event again this year.”

Trail council cleared the way for the committee to begin planning the Bull-a-Rama last month, but with one caveat – tickets sales had to be upped by at least 150 from last year’s count of 1,302

That target was do-able, McMartin maintains, because few events in Trail can draw more than one thousand people for a one-day show.

“I’d like to come back again next year,” he said. “If anybody is interested in coming on the committee and helping us, phone me. And if you have suggestions phone me, because I haven’t got all the answers.”