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Rodeo uses extra day to bring on the bulls.

Byline: Chris Hansen The Register-Guard

Thanks to the Fourth of July falling on a Monday this year, the Eugene Pro Rodeo was able to add another day of action to what has traditionally been an annual three-day event.

Ultimately, that means there will be one more day to watch the bulls.

The 13th annual Eugene Pro Rodeo runs tonight, Saturday and Monday at the Oregon Horse Center, with the sixth annual Firecracker Bullride being held Sunday night. All four shows begin at 7:30 p.m.

While National Finals Rodeo qualifiers, Columbia River Circuit champions and cowboys currently ranked in the top 15 in the world are scattered throughout the various events, it's the bullriding people pay see, and this weekend they'll get their money's worth.

"Bullriding is definitely the original extreme sport," veteran rodeo announcer and former bullrider Wayne White said. "You've got to have a big ego to sit down on one of those bulls."

Fifteen cowboys are entered in the bullriding contests each night of the rodeo, and nearly that number combined are scheduled to show up for the Firecracker Bullride on Sunday, when 40 individuals will attempt to outlast the others for cash and prizes.

In a similar event over Memorial Day weekend in Salem, bullrider Shawn Waite was the only competitor out of 40 to successfully last eight seconds on his bull twice. He'll be in town Sunday. So will the same collection of bulls.

"These bulls are absolutely electric," White said.

Others to watch include Ted Burt, who is ranked in the top 15 in the world, which would automatically qualify him for the National Finals Rodeo. He's scheduled for Saturday's performance. Tonight, Columbia River Circuit champion and Dodge National Circuit Finals qualifier Vic Dubay of La Grande is scheduled to ride.

"The adrenalin rush of getting on one of these bulls is tremendous, and the audience realizes that," White said. "The element of danger is far above everything else. It's ridiculously high. But it makes for some fun watching."

So should many of the other events.

The bareback riding competition will be highlighted tonight by the presence of two-time NFR qualifier Sean Culver, who is scheduled to ride renowned bucking horse Boomerange, increasing the odds of a solid score.

On Saturday, up-and-comer Mitch Rickman will attempt to continue his recent bit of success. Rickman, from Powell Butte, won the Umpqua Valley Roundup in Roseburg two weeks ago.

In saddle bronc, CRC champion and Dodge National Circuit Finals champion J.L. Schaffner of Redmond will go tonight, while on Saturday, Kayle Gray will try to repeat the success he had in Oregon last Fourth of July weekend when he won in St. Paul and placed in both Eugene and Molalla.

Crow resident Buck McCay is entered in the steer wrestling, tie-down roping and team roping events, while three-time DNCF qualifier and two-time CRC all-around champion Shane Erickson will compete in both tie-down and team roping.

Tonight's steer wrestling competition will also feature 1999 world champion Mickey Gee and three-time NFR qualifier K.C. Jones.

In team roping, Mike Beers of Powell Butte is an 18-time NFR qualifier and former world champion. He'll team with Dean Tuftin on Monday. Prineville's Charly Crawford, ranked third in the world, will team with Richard Durham, also on Monday.

The barrel racing will feature CRC champion Cindy Woods, as well as Pam Capper, who is currently ranked first in the CRC. Tara Polich and Ruth Haslip are NFR qualifiers, while Roseburg's Jessica Tatone recently was crowned the National Intercollegiate champion while competing for the UNLV.

A fireworks display will follow each night's performance. Tickets, which can be purchased at area Bi-Mart and Knect's Auto Parts stores, are $16 for reserved seating. General admission tickets are $12 in advance or $14 at the door. Kids 6-12 are $8/$10.
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Title Annotation:Sports; Bullriding highlights four nights of action at the Oregon Horse Center
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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