Bulls again set to buck at the fair | SteamboatToday.com

Bulls again set to buck at the fair

Routt County Fair

Bull riding has come roaring back into the Routt County Fair lineup in recent years, and Thursday, it’ll be bigger than ever.

Jake Booco, a professional bull rider from Hayden, took on the task of organizing a pro bull riding event in his hometown in recent summers.

In 2014, the first year, he said that meant about 26 bull rides. Last year, he pushed it up to 31 rides during the competition.

His event returns to the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden starting with a Calcutta at 6 p.m. Thursday. The chutes are set to fly open at 7:30 p.m.

This year, there will be even more bulls, up to 60.

“It’s going to be big,” Booco said.

Initially, the plan for Booco’s bull riding event was to use it to bolster attendance at a bronc horse riding event that had long been a part of the fair. The time devoted to that cut into the time for bulls.

This year, it’s all bulls as the bronc horse event has been supplanted by those 30 extra bulls Booco plans to bring.

It’s not a small change, but it’s one that should have big results for fans of one of rodeo’s most dangerous sports.

Without having to accommodate those broncs, organizers are able to set up a much tighter bull riding arena and move it right in front of the fairground’s grandstands.

“We’re building a smaller arena inside the main arena,” Booco said. “We’re going to have a whole new setup.”

He’s also excited about the cowboys who will fill that setup. They’ll include riders such as Travis Briscoe, a long-time veteran of the Built Ford Tough series, the top level of the sport, and Sonny Murphy, a National Finals Rodeo qualifier, plus other friends Booco made in his career riding bulls across the United States.

“All of the guys around the region have heard how good it pays and how good of an event it is, so they want to come,” Booco said. “It’s really getting to be a bigger event than I expected it to be when I started.”

Tickets are required for the event and are available at the fair office. They are $15 for adults and $10 for children age 4 to 12. It’s free for children 3 and younger.

A combo pass also is available that includes tickets for both Thursday’s bull riding and Friday’s demolition derby. The pass is $25 for adults and $15 for children.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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