The most dangerous sport participated in by man is getting even more treacherous.
Unlike days of yesteryear, when rodeo bulls from the Southwest rangelands threw cowboys off largely due to shear size, strength and male prowess, today’s bulls are bred with the sole purpose of bucking off cowboys.
However, the cowboys of today are a different lot as well, not like the range-tough rancher who typically participated in rodeo as a pastime.
Modern-day bull riders are fit, trim athletes, on stringent diets and calisthenics programs, who climb on the mean-buckers to make a living.
The best-of- the-best rodeo bucking bulls and the top rodeo cowboys in the world are to be featured at the second annual Flint Hills Bull Blowout Saturday evening, Sept.10, at Strong City .
“Our first bull riding last year was such a success that we’re adding several attractions this year to make it bigger and better,” exclaimed Kim Reyer, one of the event coordinators.
“We’re really excited about the quality of the bulls and the outstanding cowboys who will be competing right here in the rodeo arena made famous by world champion cowboys Gerald and Ken Roberts, their sister Marjie and dad E.C.,” Reyer emphasized.
Reyer’s Country Store, just across Highway 50 from the arena, and Flint Hills Genetics, a bucking bull breeding program, owned in part by Reyer, are again sponsoring the bucking bull extravaganza.
Competition will feature several of the bulls Reyer has produced with his partners sons-in-law, Adam Spain and Kyle Gibb.
Majority of the bulls will be from Jimmy Crowther’s world-renowned New Frontier Rodeo Company at Roxbury, Kansas .
“Jimmy has the top string of bucking bulls in the country backed by more than 60 years of strict selection for bucking ability,” credited Reyer.
Crowther, a former champion bull rider, started breeding bucking bulls while he was still rodeoing and purchased his first Plummer cows in 1978.
“Those cows are named after rodeo producer Charlie Plummer of Sayre, Oklahoma, who began producing rodeos in the 1950s featuring his own bulls that bucked and had a lot of fight in them,” Reyer pointed out.
The original Charlie Plummer bulls and females were gray, black or reddish brown Brahma looking, but the classic Plummer-line now has White Park and Longhorn genetics incorporated in, so they are generally white-speckled or spotted bulls with black muzzles and eye pigmentation.
“Today, Jimmy Crowther has the purest Plummer breeding of anyone in the bucking bull industry,” Reyer explained. “And, the percentage of his bull calves that buck is through the roof compared to anyone else in the industry.
“The top 5 percent of the herd is reserved for the finals round at the largest rodeos and Professional Bull Riders events,” Reyer noted. “But with several hundred head of buckers to pick from, the stock at Strong City will be plenty ‘juicy.’”
A new and special attraction at this year’s Flint Hills Bull Blowout will be a matched bull ride between Reyer and Phil Haynes of John North Ford at Emporia, a major donor to the competition.
“It’ll actually be a fund-raising competition of Ride Rank For A Cure and United Way,” Reyer noted. “I’ll be riding for Ride Rank For A Cure, and Phil will be competing for United Way.”
Both cowboys were amateur bull riding contestants earlier in life, but that was a number of years ago.
“All donations supporting us in the competition will go to those two worthy organizations,” emphasized Reyer, who is confident he’ll be the winner, even though he is uncertain how the bull draw is going to be determined.
The Flint Hills Bull Blowout last year also supported Ride Rank For A Cure, which is a non-profit organization to increase cancer awareness and provide support for those suffering with the disease.
“Ride Rank For A Cure donates 100 percent of profits from fundraising efforts to the fight against breast cancer,” according to Ricky Ritter, Augusta bull rider who founded the Ride Rank For A Cure at a bull riding school he conducted
“Throughout the year, our team members participate in and set up booths at rodeos all over the nation,” said Ritter. “One such event is the Flint Hills Bull Blowout. We will also have a 50-50 draw pot and sell Ride Rank For A Cure merchandise at the competition.
“At Ride Rank For A Cure, we want to be tough for the cause, just as our rodeo athletes stay strong in their ‘no quit’ attitudes in the arena. We want our organization to give 100 percent in our effort to spread cancer awareness and assist those in need,” explained Ritter, who will again also be competing at the Strong City event.
Another attraction at the Flint Hills Bull Blowout will be Justin Rumford, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association contract entertainer, clown, bull fighter and barrel man.
“We’re really excited to have Justin this year. He’s the son of Bronc Rumford and grandson of Floyd Rumford, Jr., longtime nationally-recognized rodeo leaders,” Reyer said.
“Justin is very entertaining and has several acts that will be especially enjoyable for everybody in attendance,” Reyer noted. “Leading professional rodeo announcer Troy Goodridge of Fort Scott will be here again this year, and he works especially well with Justin.”
Children from a wide area last year participated in the sheep riding, known as mutton busting, and there has been an expanded interest this time, according to Reyer.
A $5 participation fee will be accessed for youth six and under with competition starting 6:30 p.m. Entries can be made by calling 620-273-6229.
The chicken scramble was also a feature last year that is being anticipated to again add humor to this year’s intermission for youngsters 10 and under.
First of 40 bulls to buck from the famed rodeo chutes will be at 7 p.m., with a purse of $1,000 added to the riders’ entry money. Entries open at 5 p.m., on September 5, and can be made by calling 785-254-7385.
Top ten riders in the long-go will come back for the short-go round to determine the champion.
“We are having a bounty bull this year for the winning rider to attempt to ride as a climax of the evening. If that cowboy can successfully qualify on the bounty bull, he’ll receive an additional $1,000,” Reyer explained.
A dance to the music of Rusty Rierson and Dead Eye will follow the most-dangerous-sport-known-to-man, and those attending the Flint Hills Bull Blowout get free dance admittance.
Information is available at www.FlintHillsBullBlowout.com.