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Local cowboys compete for mechanical bull championship

When the dust had cleared and the cheers had quieted, the Pike County Cattlemen crowned the Mechanical Bull Riding Champion of the Cattlemen’s 29th Annual National Cowboy Professional Rodeo Association Rodeo.

The title and all the kudos of the mechanical bull riding championship went to Brad Cotton whose “8 seconds” were coupled with top style points to win the prestigious rodeo kickoff mechanical bull riding title.

Cotton was riding for the Burning Bush Cowboy Church.

Second place in the 2021 Mechanical Bull Ride was Bo Estes, Just a ‘Lil Rodeo, and third place was awarded to Zack Hester, Wiley Sanders Truck Lines.

Cattleman Ed Whatley, the event emcee, said bull riding is the most popular event of any rodeo so it is always the last event of the night.

“And, it’s always worth the wait,” Whatley said. “Because of the popularity of the bull riding, the Pike County Cattlemen kick off their annual professional cowboy association with a mechanical bull ride and everybody who is up for the challenge is eligible to compete.”

Whatley said to qualify to be judged, a rider must stay on the bull for 8 seconds.

“Then, the rider is judged on style points and a winner is determined,” Whatley said.

However, the rules are a little more relaxed in mechanical bull riding, hence a winner.

Whatley expressed appreciation to all the riders who competed in Pike County Cattlemen’s 29th Professional Cowboy Association Mechanical Bull Ride and complemented them on their style, grace … and nerve. He thanked the businesses and industries represented including Wiley Sanders Truck Lines, Burning Bush Cowboy Church, Just a Lil’ Rodeo Company, Western Festival hosts Nancy and Randy Ray, Kyle Beard and the mechanical bull, Southeastern Livestock Expo Rodeo and Michelle Long, Pike County Cattlewomen.

Whatley expressed special appreciation to Preston’s Steak House for hosting the Pike County Cattlemen’s Rodeo Kickoff Celebrity Mechanical Bull Ride and getting the weekend rodeo off to an enthusiastic start.

The Pike County Cattlemen’s Association 29th annual rodeo kicked off Friday night at the Cattlemen Park arena with a large and enthusiastic gathering of rodeo fans.

The rodeo will get off to an early start tonight with the kids’ Western Festival at 5 p.m. Gates open at 4 p.m.

Cattleman Johnny Garrett said the Western Festival features a variety of western-themed games and contests for ages up to 13.

There is something fun for all ages including the festival favorites, stick horse races, steer ropin’ and mutton bustin’ where kids have the chance to participate in sheep-size bull riding.

The sheep are saddled and the kids wear helmets on their attempts to ride a ‘mutton’ or sheep.

The Saturday night rodeo is usually the biggest of the weekend and a large crowd is expected tonight. The Grand Entry for tonight’s rodeo will be at 7:30 p.m. with the full slate for rodeo event getting underway after the Grand Entry.

“The rodeo will also have pony rides for the kids and the mechanical bull will be the challenge for the adults,” Garrett said. “Inside Cattlemen Park we have large number of vendors will all kinds of Western gear for kids and adults and a variety of other Western-themed items. It will be a fun and memorable experience for all age

Gates open at 4 p.m. for the Western Festival. The rodeo begins at 7:30 p.m. The Cattlemen’s Rodeo features 81 of the Southeast’s best cowboys and cowgirls competing in eight events.