The Bullwhip Rodeo was one of the best attractions of this year’s Fair. Bronc Riding, Bareback Bronc Riding, Bull Riding, Steer Riding, Calf Riding, Calf Scrabble for ages 8-12, Calf Roping, Team Calf Roping, Barrel Racing and, of all things, a Dance Contest were some of the highlights. The announcer’s jokes were raunchy, but the participants, bovine, equine and human, were great. It was clear to spectators that they loved their jobs. The animals were healthy and well-cared for.
People familiar with bull riding, such as is broadcast on sports networks by the Professional Bullriders Association (PBR) commented on the high quality of the bulls. “You can tell,” one enthusiast said, “these are high calibre bulls. They are not someone’s pet, trained to be ridden, but fighting bulls, hard, strong and mean.” Some of the bull riders agreed: “They’re not pets, but we treat them with respect. A lot of respect.”
Rodeo is a competitive sport, derived from the working practices of cattle herding. It began in Spain and Mexico and was later introduced to North and South America, Australia and New Zealand, anywhere cowboys were employed. It can be a big money event when the community is involved, especially if Bull Riding is included. Events are divided into rough stock and timed events. The Bullwhip Rodeo included both types of events and a few, like the Calf Scramble, designed for kids. Bullwhip is owned by James and Judy Atchley, out of Celina.
Arena Director on Wednesday night was Dustin Reese. James Lamb out of Hartsville, Jeremy Dalton and Lance Childers were the judges. Brandon Rippy won the Bronc classes. John Davis won the Tie Down. Logan Moore, the header, and Mike Edmiston, the heeler, won the Team Roping Challenge. Jamie Demps came in first in the Barrel Racing. Heather Willard was second. Team Outlaws, comprised of Cody Lamb, Chris Jenkins and Aaron Reece, won the Steer Race and Corey Stone won the Bull Riding.