There’ll likely be some shrieks, back tingling shills and certainly plenty of thrills, but those alarmed reactions won’t be initiated by ghosts and goblins, but rather from the most dangerous sport participated in by man.
“Beware, it’s the Halloween Bull Blast Sunday afternoon, Oct. 27, 2 o’clock, at the Burlingame Saddle Club Arena on Rodeo Drive in Burlingame,” announced Brian Furman of Eskridge.
Furman Bucking Bulls, a partnership of Furman and his son, Dustin, will supply most of the livestock for the jackpot bull riding competition they have planned and are sponsoring.
“We already have top cowboys entered from Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and three from Iowa. Several bull riders that have qualified for the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Finals in Las Vegas will be here,” Furman promised.
Both Brian and Dustin Furman are lifelong cowboys and have had successful rodeo careers. “I competed in bull riding and saddle bronc riding, and Dustin still rides at rodeos and jackpot bull ridings throughout the Midwest,” the senior Furman said.
“Dustin has been on every bull in our bucking string. He’s tough to get off. If a bull can throw Dustin, they’re top quality and ready to go down the road, guaranteeing the ability of our bucking bulls,” Furman added.
With recent purchases out of North Country, Furman Bucking Bulls has about 30 head of bulls of their own, but Walkin’ M Bull Company of Hoyt and McDonald Rodeo Company, Ava, Missouri, will also supply bulls for Sunday afternoon’s competition.
“We’ve been developing buying and developing bucking bulls for several years and have leased our bulls to a number of contractors and bull riding sponsors. Our bulls have earned a reputation among both cowboys and spectators for their bucking ability and not-so-nice attitude,” Furman claimed.
Considered “the best” bull in their herd, Gravedigger, a full brother to Mudslinger, took a PBR rider to the winner’s circle when he marked 90 points after a successful ride. Another “reputation” bull that’ll buck Sunday is called Psycho, a son of Maneater.
“But, the bull creating the most adrenalin for the rider and the crowd when he comes out of the chute is Bodybag. He’s been out 37 times, and has not been ridden to the whistle yet,” Furman said.
“Bodybag will also be the ‘bounty bull’ at Sunday’s bull riding. The cowboy who draws him will receive bonus prize money, if he can make a qualified ride.”
A total of 25 cowboys are being accepted to compete at the bull riding jackpot with entries open until start of the performance. “The top five riders will come back in the short go-round to pick the champion from the highest total score on two bulls,” Furman said.
The producers are adding $500 to the $50 entry fees paid by each contestant and distributed back to the top riders.
“Bull riding competitions are getting bigger and bigger every day. Three decades ago, a rodeo would just have old range bulls that would jump and kick out of the chute. Today’s bulls are bred to buck, and they love it. You open the trailer gate before a rodeo, and our bulls jump in; they’re ready to go out of the arena chute spinning and turning themselves inside out throwing cowboys into the air,” Furman claimed.
In order to make qualified rides, the cowboys today are of a “different breed,” so to speak, too, Furman added.
“Bull riders now are well-fit, trim and trained athletes. They have to be, or they couldn’t ride these rank bulls, and would be injured more often when they got off. Some of the bulls get real worked up, mad and are ready to eat the cowboys when they hit the ground,” Furman insisted.
While always closely involved with the sport, and contracting bulls to other producers and contractors for several years, this is the first bull riding event that Furman Bucking Bulls has sponsored and produced entirely on their own.
“We’ve been talking about it for some time. Then, when we approached the Burlingame Saddle Club about using their arena, they were excited to become involved,” Furman said.
“Everybody in the club and around the area has been very encouraging and cooperative. We are learning as we go, but it’s really coming together quite well,” Furman emphasized.
Information for the Halloween Bull Blast Sunday at Burlingame is available from Brian Furman at 785-817-8038, or Dustin Furman at 785-492-7313.