Bull riding returning to Killarney in May

·4 min read

Bulls will be busting out of the shoots this weekend for the first Killarney Rippin’ and Roarin’ Bull Riding event since 2019.

Bulls and broncs will be returning to the Shamrock Centre Arena on May 7 for the 11th instalation of the event. All proceeds raised will go toward the Killarney Agricultural Society.

The Rippin’ and Roarin’ Bull Riding is an evening of “excitement and fun,” said Brian LePoudre, chair of the event committee.

“We’ve always had a number of younger guys who come out here to try. Some for the first time, and some who have some experience,” LePoudre said. “The bulls and horses come out of the shoots with a rider on top of them, hoping he can make it to the eight seconds. But in most cases, they don’t. Sometimes, they just get out of the shoot, sometimes they last three seconds, sometimes they last a little longer.”

The last bull bust took place in 2019. For the past two years, the event has been knocked into the dirt due to COVID-19 public health measures leading to its cancellation in 2020 and 2021.

For many, Rippin’ and Roarin’ often marked the start of the rodeo season in Westman, LePoudre said, serving as an opportunity to prepare for a summer of competitions.

The rodeo typically averages around 20 riders for the bull bust and about eight cowboys competing in bronc. A junior bull riding competition is also included; the last event in 2019 saw eight riders compete.

Getting ready for this year’s event has felt a little bit “like starting from scratch,” LePoudre said, but they have been able to draw on past connections to ensure the bulls and broncs are able to ride without a hitch.

The biggest concern now is encouraging people to come down to Killarney for the main event.

“We just have to get the word out there — we have to re-educate everybody that the bull riding is back.”

The evening begins with the bull bust, the main event of the competition. Everyone rides in the first round and then it goes to the top eight cowboys for a second ride off and the championship buckle. Placements in the finals are based on points and those who stay on the bull for eight seconds.

Broncs follow the bulls with riders bucking through the arena for two rounds. The animals are supplied by Prairie Rodeo out of Saskatchewan.

The Rippin’ and Roarin’ Bull Riding event will be introducing a calf scramble for the half-time show for the first time in 2022, replacing the traditional wild pony races.

During the scramble, participants chase and attempt to grab calves with ribbons attached to them.

“It gives the youth an opportunity to be involved in the event,” LePoudre said.

The Cowboy Calcutta also serves as an opportunity for visitors to be involved in the event. During the Calcutta, the top eight bull riders will be brought into the ring after the first ride and audiences can bid on who they think will take home first place. They can also bet on the bulls if they think no one will hit the eight-second mark during the night.

In the past, they have seen $1,500 to $2,000 raised as a purse for the winner of the Calcutta.

Money raised from the Calcutta is split 50/50, with money being injected back into the community.

Killarney Rippin’ and Roarin’ Bull Riding initially began as a collaboration between the Killarney Ag Society and the local fire department as a fundraiser. The ag society has taken full control of the event over the years, though.

All money raised during the bull bust goes back into the community through building capital assets or hosting community events.

It will be a pivotal event for the organization after the loss of fundraising activities over the past two years.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the event starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for youth ages six to 12, and children five and under are free.

“It has been a long time where we haven’t had any entertainment because of COVID,” LePoudre said. “Come on out, because we have some entertainment to provide to you, but the other part is it’s exciting. It’s always exciting to watch these young men getting on the back of these bulls and horses and trying to stay on. It’s always an interesting fight between the two.”

The Killarney Ag Society will hold its annual Party in the Dirt social after the competition. The rides typically end around 10 p.m. and the dance lasts until about 1 a.m. Beer gardens will also be open during the event.

» ckemp@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @The_ChelseaKemp

Chelsea Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun

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