Bull A Rama this weekendThis weekend at the Civic Center nearly 40 bull riders will have their chance at finishing out the season at the top of the standings after four rounds on the backs of 2,000-pound bulls.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
This weekend at the Civic Center nearly 40 bull riders will have their chance at finishing out the season at the top of the standings after four rounds on the backs of 2,000-pound bulls.
“It’s basically nonstop action throughout the whole thing,” said veteran rider Chris Ehlers. “It’s man against beast; it’s a David vs. Goliath thing.”
The Grace City, N.D., native said he has looked forward to Bull A Rama in Jamestown every year for the past 11 years — ever since he was the youngest pro to make the event at the age of 14.
Bull A Rama is the final stop on the National Professional Rodeo Association Tour.
The 39 riders have a chance to win the finals title as well as the belt buckle that comes with a season championship.
“I don’t know if I can win the year end but I can win in the finals,” Ehlers said. “All a guy has to do is stay on his bulls. It sounds simple but it’s not as simple as it sounds.”
At the Friday and Saturday events, riders get two rides each day. Each ride can last up to 8 seconds.
When all 39 riders finish their first ride, two judges each score the rider and the bull for that ride, on a scale of 1-25, for a total of 100 points.
The top 10 from the first round, or long round, advance to the final round, or short round.
“Everyone comes and puts their name in the jar and tries to win some money,” he said.
While a title and the prize money to go along with are the ultimate prizes, riders still cheer each other on, Ehlers said. The riders become a family by the end of a season.
“It’s not like you want to see them buck off, because the competition is not against me and the other riders. It’s against me and the bull,” he said.
Some of the best bulls in the state will be here for riders from across the Dakotas and Minnesota. Still, Ehlers said veteran riders know how to handle the massive mammals.
“They (the bulls) got a job to do and they go out on their end and they do it,” Ehlers said. “That’s their job — 90 percent of them want to buck you off and go eat.”
Years ago Rudy Borntrager, Wadena, Minn., was welcomed to the ring with a bell ringer.
This was shortly after he left the Amish colony he grew up in because he wanted to live a different life.
Borntrager saw his brother, who also just left the colony a year earlier, ride a bull in a Valley City competition. At age 17, Borntrager thought he could handle 8 seconds.
“The first time I got on — I got a concussion,” he said. “I got thrown to the ground pretty hard, and when I got up I said ‘Man that was a rush, I think I want to start doing that.’”
The next year he made it to the state finals.
“Riding a bull, it’s a lot of physical but it’s a lot of mental,” Borntrager said. “If you don’t have your focus in the right place, if you got something on your mind that isn’t good, that can affect you.”
Both riders said the key to success this Friday and Saturday is as easy as staying on the back of a bucking bull.
“The main part about it is staying in the center and keeping your balance and focus on what that bull is doing underneath you,” he said.
The event starts at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Civic Center. Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for children 5-12 and 4 and under are admitted free. Tickets are available at the Civic Center or at the door.
Sun writer Ben Rodgers
can be reached at
(701) 952-8455 or by email at email@example.com