Round 'em up for the second annual bull ride

June 20, 2002|by Liz Boch

Saturday, June 22, marks the second annual Bull ride Mania in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., hosted by Dave Martin, a national bull-riding event coordinator.

According to Triple B Arena's manager Jeannie Ford, last year's first-ever bull ride drew more than 1,200 people. She said she expects even more on Saturday.

"We are planning on more people this year because we're advertising on the radio stations and newspapers as well," she said.


Gates open at 4 p.m., and the event runs from 7 p.m. to about 10 p.m. Professional bull riding draws the biggest crowd, Ford said. There are no more rider openings for the 40 bulls.

"It's real fast-paced and dangerous. You can get your picture taken sitting on the bull before it comes out of the gate, but you have to get off before it's released," Ford said.

Both Cole Strickland and Richard Williams of Berkeley Springs will be competing in the bull riding event.

"They are both young, but the ages of the riders range from 18 to near 40 years old," Ford said.

Events include wild cow milking, a watermelon crawl, ostrich riding, a cowgirl barrel race and bull hockey with rodeo clowns. Mutton busting, or sheep riding, will be available for children ages six and younger. A calf and sheep scramble, when children run around grabbing dollar bills off the backsides of animals, will also be held.

"The largest bill put on their rear is worth $10," Ford said.

Ford's 58-acre farm houses horses and cows. Both Ford and her husband, Bob, "fell into" the idea of bull riding while on vacation.

"We used to go to Texas and Oklahoma in the winter and both of us were fascinated with bull riding. So when we acquired this property, we wanted to build the arena," she said.

The Triple B Arena is named after Bob's Big Beef, the couple's catering business adjacent to the arena. Their food, as well as hamburgers, funnel cakes, hot dogs, ice cream, cotton candy and french fries will be available.

The bull ride's uniqueness drew the pair into arranging the event, Ford said.

"They don't have anything like this around here and people like it," she said. "We do this because if teenagers get into horse riding, they'll stay off the streets and away from violence."

Advance tickets are available for $13 at Five Sisters Gifts & Western Outfitters in Clearbrook, Va.; Ridge Country Store in Winchester, Va.; and Dairy Queen and Clark's Inc. in Berkeley Springs. Tickets at the gate cost $18 for adults and $7 and $10 for children 12 and younger.

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