RODEO READY: Local celebrities prepare for bull ride

Published 11:19 pm Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Pike County Cattleman John Garrett has thrown down the gauntlet.

The Rev. Ed Shirley has picked it up.

At 11 a.m. Friday, the Pike County Cattlemen will kick off the 26th annual NCPRA Rodeo Weekend with the mechanical bull event at Santa Fe Cattle Company. The rider with the highest score will be declared the winner and take home the spoils of victory.

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However, Garrett added a different element to the kickoff event by offering greenbacks, 100 of them for each second up to five seconds, that Circuit Rider Rev. Ed Shirley can stay on the mechanical bull.

Garrett said Shirley rides the county sharing stories about the perils of Methodist Circuit Riders. So Garrett is giving him the opportunity to show his mettle by riding the metal bull. The money will be donated to Shirley’s church.

“The mechanical bull is no cream-puff like Rev. Ed’s Butterscotch,” Garrett said. “We’ll see how long the preacher can stay on the bull.”

Garrett didn’t say why he put a cap on the number of seconds at $100 each. Maybe he’s not taking a chance on the reverend not being a cream puff.

Shirley asked if there has been a fatality at the event and was assured there has not.

“I’ve not ridden a buckin’ horse,” Shirley said with a hint of apprehension.

Asked how, as a greenhorn, he plans to stay on the mechanical bull, Shirley answered, “Industrial Velcro.”

Also riding will be a host of challengers made up of Pike County celebrities.

Among the challengers will be the 2017 Mechanical Bull Riding Champion Rush Hixon, who was unavailable for comment on Wednesday.

Hixon was thought to be practicing at an undisclosed location. He wears the mechanical bull championship belt buckle proudly. Losing is not an option.

Everyone is invited to enjoy the fun and laughter that is a certainty when man and machine vie for supremacy. There is no charge.

The Pike County Cattlemen’s 26th Annual NCPRA Rodeo will be underway at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cattleman Park Arena. The gates will open at 5 p.m. The rodeo will feature the eight top rodeo events including bull riding.

The rodeo will continue Saturday with the Kids’ Western Festival and the main event rodeo.

Tickets at the door both nights will be $12. Kids 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

Advance tickets are on sale for $10 at Troy Bank & Trust Main Branch, Walker’s Western Wear, Piggly Wiggly locations and Banks Buy Rite.