• 81°

COWBOY UP?: Bull ride opens rodeo weekend fun

Pike County Cattleman James Ketchum had to walk off a cramp that hampered him in warm-ups to take the championship of the 2018 Pike County Cattlemen’s Association Bull Ride at Santa Fe Cattle Company at noon Friday.

Ketchum scored 78 points to edge out Haley Brown of Just a Lil’ Rodeo, by only two points.  Michael Agar, of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, took third place honors with 73 points.

Ketchum said he wasn’t sure that he would be able to ride, but once he got on the bull, the adrenalin started flowing and he forgot about the cramp and had a good ride.

Ketchum came in second in last year’s PCCA Bull Ride. I practiced all year long riding the tractor to be ready for this year’s competition,” Ketchum said, with a smile. “I guess all the hard work paid off.”

Kechum is Pike County’s 2018 Champion Mechanical Bull Rider but the Rev. Ed Shirley was the big purse winner. Cattleman Johnny Garrett challenged the preacher to step from behind the pulpit and mount a bull. For each second, up to five, Shirley stayed on he bull, Garrett would award him with $100. Shirley stayed on the bull and stayed on the bull and Garrett was proud he limited the seconds. However, Shirley was holding on the horn with two hands and was disqualified from the competition. Garrett had included no stipulations so he paid off.

Other finishers in the 2018  PCCA Bull Ride were: Alvie Walker, Cowboy Church, 70; Michael Bunn, Pike County Probate Judge elect, 70;  Kevin Childs, Pike County Sheriff’s Department, 70; Sydney, Santa Fe, 68; Christian Crosby, C Square, 65; Matt Bowen, Premier Chrysler Dodge Ram, 65; Rick Clark, Pike County Ford, 64; Jimmy King, Troy Nissan, 64. Riding but not qualifying were: Ed Shirley, Brundidge United Methodist Church; Wes Allen, Pike County Probate Judge; and Jonathon Stevens, Bill Jackson Chevrolet. Three-year-old Bentley Bolding also rode.

For a qualified ride, the rider must keep one hand in the air and the other on the horn. Hanging on for dear life is cause for disqualification, said Cattleman B.B. Palmer, emcee for the ride.

“The mechanical bull ride is a great way to kickoff rodeo weekend at Cattleman Park,” Palmer said. Tonight’s rodeo features the Kid’s Western Festival. Gates open at 4 p.m. and the fun begins at 5 p.m. with a variety of events just for kids.

“The Western Festival is family fun at its best,” Palmer said. “Kids can participate in mutton bustin,’ wagon rides, stick horse racing, calf scramble and lots of other events just for the little ones. There will be pony rides for kids and, of course, the rodeo is the highlight of the night.”

The rodeo will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 at the door. Ages 12 and under are admitted free.  Advance tickets, if available, are $10. Check with Walker’s Western Wear, Piggly Wiggly locations and Banks Buy Rite for availability.