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 sheer 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 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 sixth annual Flint Hills Bull Blowout Saturday evening, Sept.12, at Strong City.
“Our bull riding the first four years has been such a success that we’re adding 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 top notch cowboys who will be competing, right here in the rodeo arena made famous by world champion cowboys Gerald and Ken Roberts, their sister Marge 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, both 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, along with Reyer’s son Wyatt. “We have two great sons-in-law, and they fit right into the operation,” he said.
Flint Hills Genetics has been raising rodeo bucking bulls for 10 years, and now has 25 registered cows in effort to produce the industry’s best buckers.
The cowherd features daughters of the renowned Grey Squirrel, Upgrade, Dark Shadow, Rattler, Slobber Knocker, Overstreet, Hot Spot, Watermelon Spike, and Neon Nights, all bulls that have bucked in the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) competitions or the National Finals Rodeo.
“We sell our bulls at the New Frontier Rodeo Company Production Sale each year,” Reyer said.
They’ve gone on to buck in the PBR, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and the Central Plains Rodeo Association.
“Bulls we’ve bred have bucked off champion bull riders like Cooper Kangiesser, Lucas Dick, Austin Meier, Jesse Shellhammer, Billy Robinson, and Bradley Harris,” Reyer said.
The bull called Overstreet was ridden for 84 points, by Shane Proctor, and 86 points, by Billy Robinson. “Highest mark for Overstreet himself was 44 points,” Reyer noted.
“It has been a lot of fun watching our son Wyatt be able to help more and more with the everyday duties at Flint Hills Genetics. He fills in and feeds the bulls many nights when everyone else is busy, and Wyatt has started flanking the bulls at some of the rodeos. Of course, it is fun to watch the grandkids help, also,” Reyer credited.
Many of the bulls at the Flint Hills Bull Blowout 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 40 years of strict selection for bucking ability,” credited Reyer. “Jimmy was a champion bull rider, who started breeding bucking bulls in 1978, while he was still competing in rodeos personally.”
Crowther told Reyer that fans would want to especially watch for Price Sheriff, Slammin’ Slam, Guess Who and 611 Overstreet at the Flint Hills Bull Blowout.
Reyer then emphasized, “Everybody will also want to be aware of a couple of our bulls, Vindicator and In The Shadows; they’re really bucking and have lots of potential for the bigtime.”
An added attraction this year will be Donnie Landis, Gooding, Idaho, a contract entertainer, clown, bullfighter and barrel man, who’s worked two times at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada, verification of his ability in demand. Landis is expected to arrive a day early for live airwaves presentations, Reyer noted.
Children from a wide area have participated in the sheep riding, known as “mutton busting,” and there has been even an expanded interest, according to Reyer.
A $5 participation fee will be accessed for youth six and under with the sheep riding competition starting 6:30 a.m. Entries can be made by calling 620-273-6229.
The chicken scramble for youngsters 10 and under was also a feature the past that is being anticipated to add humor for everyone in the bleachers again during this year’s intermission.
“The sixth Flint Hills Bull Blowout will get underway with a beef barbecue starting at 5 o’clock, featuring a live radio broadcast and autograph and picture taking with Donnie Landis,” Reyer pointed out.
First of 30 bulls to buck from the famed rodeo chutes will be at 7 o’clock, Saturday evening, Sept. 12, with a purse of $1,000 added to the riders’ entry money. Entry books open at 5 p.m., on September 8, and can be made by calling 785-254-7385.
Top ten riders in the long go-round will come back to the short go-round to determine the champion.
“We are excited to have a bounty bull this year. If the champion cowboy in the bull blowout can successfully ride that rank bull, too, he’ll receive an additional $1,000 in prize money,” Reyer explained.
Details about the sixth annual Flint Hills Bull Blowout are available at 620-273-6229.