Bullfest brings big bucks


Liz Wood

Josh Call was the first to ride the full eight seconds Saturday night. He earned a 77 riding Barley Red.

The bulls and bull riders put on quite a show for the Bullfest audience Saturday night.

Jason McClain, of Cortez, Colo. split the buckle and prize money with Kayne Boswell, of Cheyenne. Both men scored an 83 in the first round of the Bullfest Saturday night.

The weather was cool, and the bulls were mad enough to give many bull riders a less-than-eight second ride.

Six riders would get thrown before the buzzer went off, and only three men rode the required eight seconds in the long round. Josh Call, of Mullen, Neb., was the seventh rider, and earned a 77 score with his eight-second ride.

Call would ride five times before losing his chance at the big prize money in the short round. Call was one of nearly 40 bull riders signed up for the contest. When there were some no-shows, Call signed up for extra rides and was awarded a re-ride in the short round.

Cody Johanssen, had just been released from the hospital days before, when he filled in for Thad Newell, of Haskell, Okla. Bo Alameda, organizer of the Bullfest, said.

Newell had been hurt the night before at a Professional Bull Rider (PBR) event. "I knew he wanted to ride," Alameda said, "but Jason and I were trying to convince him to heal up." Fortunately, Johannsen did not get hurt again. "He was just upset he got thrown off," Alameda said.

McClain traveled the rodeo circuit with Alameda. Alameda has retired from bull riding and McClain still bull rides part-time at the age of 38.

Nine cowboys would get bucked, thrown, stomped and rammed before Boswell scored an 83. Three rides later, McClain also scored an 83.

"It feels good to get at least one rode today. I've been in a bad riding season," Boswell said. He hopes to keep the momentum rolling at this weekend's PBR rodeo in Sterling, Colo., and Friday's rodeo in Longmont, Colo. He plans to use the prize money to support his little boy.

McClain hasn't been riding much this season. "It's a lot better than not getting a whiff," he said of his tie win on Saturday night.

In a testament to being a mature family man, McClain said the prize money would probably go to buying his two children new clothes and school supplies. McClain sent out a special thanks to Alameda and KayCee and the Lions Club for making the Bullfest "as big a deal as it is."

Alameda, and his wife, KayCee, are in their fourth year of managing the Bullfest for the Saratoga Lions Club, which has been going for 13 years.

"We had a good pen of bulls," Alameda said. "When KayCee and I first took over, we talked to the contractors and said 'bring the heat' and they did." No-one could finish the ride, so they asked the contractors to tone it down a little two years ago. "They didn't ride those bulls any more than they did the rank bulls, so we had them bring back the rank bulls," Alameda said. "It was a good event. I enjoyed watching those rank bulls."

Alameda explained normally 30 to 35 riders enter, and he draws 30 bulls from contractors. This year, they had 40 bull riders enter. Only a few were no-shows, and the bulls were turned out into the arena without riders.

Total numbers from the Bullfest were not in as of press time. "It looked like a good crowd," Alameda said.

"Thanks to our sponsors and the people who attended," Alameda said. "We'll do it again next year."


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