Trail’s Bull-a-Rama roped and ready

Bull-a-Rama is poised to bust out of the chute at the Trail Memorial Centre this Saturday.

Bull-a-Rama is poised to bust out of the chute at the Trail Memorial Centre this Saturday.

The annual bull-riding fest will host 30 of Canada’s top riders as they spur on the toughest bulls in the west, as well as see the Canadian Pro Rodeo’s junior boys steer riders and the back-by-popular-demand mutton busting.

“My friend there at the Trail (City) council, Eleanor (Gattafoni Robinson) has been bugging me since we had it about four or five years ago, so we’re going to bring some sheep in and let the kids try it,” said organizer Guy Thompson. “We’re going to try to make it more of a family event and make if fun.”

The sheep-riding event is open to 15 kids and will run during the intermission.

But according to Trail’s Rec director Tricia Davison, there are still a few mutton rides available.

“We’d love to have some more kids, so anybody that would like to ride a sheep that is under five (years), and under 55 pounds, give us a call,” says Davison.

The City of Trail organizes the ambitious event, but it couldn’t go on without numerous  local sponsors, volunteers and the bull riding crew as well.

“Our regular staff teams and volunteers will be there, but there is a whole host of people that come with the bull-riding production itself,” said Davison.

As well as the bull riders, the event could not get off the ground without stock providers, announcers, handlers, bull fighters, judges, event coordinators and more.

As for local volunteers, Rossland-Trail Minor Hockey, Trail Youth Baseball, the West Kootenay Horseman Society, the Trail Oldtimers Hockey team, the Smoke Eater volunteers and many other individuals help make the event a success.

In addition to the mutton, this year’s event has recruited a new stock contractor, with Franklin Rodeo and Outlawbucker Rodeo Corp bringing in 50-head of fresh bulls.

“We’ve got some excellent, excellent bulls, probably as good if not better (than last year),” said Thompson. “ And it’s just the start of the year, so they’ll be ready.”

With $13,000 up for grabs, the 30 riders will buck off in the long go, with the top eight riders advancing to the short go.

The CPRA sanctioned event also allows the riders to accumulate valuable points to qualify for the national finals in Edmonton.

Four-time Bull-a-Rama champ, Chad Besplug, won the nationals last October and will be back in Trail to defend his Bull-a-Rama title.

A dozen junior boys steer riders, ages 11-14, will also make the trip, to vie for the coveted steer-riding buckle. Last year’s winner Riley Claypool has moved onto busting broncos, so the title is open for any up and comers.

“All these kids (bull riders) started riding steers, like Kelly Armstrong, they’ve been Canadian champions or made the Canadian finals and moved onto Vegas, but this is where they start.”

Another favourite returning to this year’s event is the Ken McCoy Band who will keep the festivities going at the Barn Dance to follow the bull riding.

Tickets are $22 adults and $10 for children under 14 in advance, and $25 and $12 at the door.