Thanks to the City of Trail, numerous volunteers, invaluable sponsors, and the hard work of organizers like Guy Thompson, the Kootenay Chrysler Bull-a-Rama is back at the Cominco Arena Apr. 27 with bigger brahmas and better riders than ever.
“Without our sponsors through the years like this it wouldn’t have been possible,” said Thompson, a former Trail resident. “Every dollar we make goes back to the community, every dollar.”
From humble beginnings, the event has evolved into one of Trail’s favourite spring spectacles with a family-friendly atmosphere that highlights some of Canada’s best bull riders and stock.
“This will be our 12th year. I went and knocked on Al’s (Wenger) door out at Kootenay Chrysler, and asked him to get on board, and he said, ‘What, a bull-riding event in this town?’ But I asked him to try it . . . and I never would have thought it would have lasted this long,” said Thompson.
With a growing budget, the City of Trail has consistently put on an entertaining and top-notch event, showcasing North America’s top riders and bulls, including Claresholm’s Chad Besplug who now rides on the Professional Bull-Riding Tour and won’t be making it to Trail for this go round.
“They’ve moved up into the PBR so they’re on tour. It’s like hockey from the amateur to the pros. Bullriding like ours is a stepping stone for these guys,” said Thompson.
Besplug, a four-time Bull-a-Rama champ, is coming off a huge win at the Calgary Stampede in July and was crowned the 2012 Canadian Bull Riding champion. Last year was undoubtedly his best on the PBR circuit pocketing over $160,000 in winnings.
Cochrane’s Jody Turner rode to victory in last year’s event with sibling Steven placing second, just two points behind his older brother. The pair will look to repeat as they return with 28 other riders for the one-day ride.
“All our entries are in and I think it’s probably one of the best entries that we’ve ever had, personnel wise,” added Thompson.
The top riders will take home $12,000 in prizes including $500 bonuses for the best ride in the long-go and the short-go courtesy of West K Concrete.
The bulls were especially fresh last year and held the advantage over the cowboys, and Thompson expects similar results.
“We’ve got some great bulls. We got a stock contractor out of Vernon, Teddy Marchand of Coyote Creek Bucking Bulls, and he had the top bull in all of Canada called Whiskey Jack so hopefully he is going to be here.”
Along with Coyote Creek, Kelly Armstrong from Franklin Rodeo Stock also returns with his dependable stock of bilious brahmas.
The family favourite mutton busting returns for up-and-coming cowboys and cowgirls ages three to five years, and under 55 pounds, led by rodeo entertainer “Slick” Josh Shepherd.
“The kids mutton busting is probably as good a hit of anything we’ve tried, and we try to have a family-orientated event, and that’s always been good.”
Shepherd is in his first year as a professional rodeo clown and brings energy and enthusiasm to every event, says Thompson. And of course, the evening wouldn’t be complete without the Ken McCoy Band entertaining all of Trail’s cowboys and cowgirls at the Cominco Arena barn dance at 9 p.m.
Check out the Bull-a-Rama Facebook page. “Like” the page and automatically be entered to win two free adult tickets to the event; also enter the contest to win two children’s tickets. Winners will be announced Monday.
Adult tickets are $22, children $10 in advance and can be purchased at Kootenay Chrysler, Pharmasave, Ferraro Foods Rossland, and Valley Petro Canada. There is a maximum of 15 entrants for the Mutton bustin’. To sign up or for more info call 364-0888.