It’s back |

It’s back

Professional Bull Riders return to Steamboat

A bull rider holds on during a ride at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena in Steamboat Springs.
John F. Russell

— Professional bull rider Judd Mortensen is used to risky situations in the rodeo arena.

But the longtime cowboy doesn’t believe the idea of bringing the Professional Bull Riders Tour back to Steamboat Springs for Labor Day weekend is a risk. The PBR Tour was a regular in Steamboat Springs during the past decade and always drew large crowds. But last year the event was noticeably absent from the list of Labor Day activities.

“I think the community was bummed last year when the PBR didn’t come back,” Mortensen said. “I was definitely bummed.”

Mortensen, his wife Annie and father-in-law J.C. Trujillo decided the time was right to unveil the PBR Rocky Mountain Bull Bash. The event is Sunday at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena. Gates will open at 3 p.m. and the first bulls will come out of the chutes at 5 p.m.

Mortensen said rodeo fans should expect top-level rodeo action provided by top stock and some of the hottest prospects in professional rodeo.

The red-hot PBR tour is divided into several different series. The biggest, the Built Ford Tough Series, is televised and features only the top riders in the sport. In order to qualify for that tour, cowboys must compete in one of three smaller tours that are not televised.

In the past, Steamboat has hosted the U.S. Smokeless Challenge Series. This year’s event will be part of the Enterprise Series. There is also a fourth tier series called the Discovery Tour, which feeds both the Challenger and Enterprise tours.

“It’s great to have Labor Day events with a Western flair,” said Riley Polumbus, communication director with the Steamboat Springs Chamber. “The Bull Bash is representative of our Western Heritage.”

Mortensen is hoping this year’s event will draw large crowds and that bull riding will regain its title as a Labor Day tradition in Steamboat Springs. He said fans that show up early to this year’s event will have a chance to meet bull-riding legend Tony Mendes and take a whirl on his bucking machine.

“It’s no secret that they love bull riding in Steamboat Springs,” Mortensen said. “We think this could be a major event for Steamboat.”

Polumbus said the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association also is happy that bull riding is back on the list of things to do in Steamboat Springs this weekend, and she hopes to see the event grow into an annual event.

Tickets for this year’s Bull Bash can be purchased in Steamboat Springs at the Chamber Resort Association or F.M. Light and Sons. They can also be purchased at Corral West in Craig.

Advance tickets are $15 for general admission, $20 for the reserved section and $28 on the arena floor. The gate ticket prices increase to $20 for general admission, $25 for the reserved section and $33 for the arena floor.

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