On Saturday July 20, at the edge of Logan Martin Lake at the Pell City Sports Complex, the Premier Bulls Tour hosted the fifth annual Bulls on the Lake rodeo tournament with food, attractions and live music entertainment. Sponsored in part by McSweeney Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and Talladega Tractor, the event seeks to support the Pell City chapter of the Future Farmers of America to assist in educating local students in agricultural pursuits.
The event opened at 5 p.m. with mutton busting, in which children rode sheep around the rodeo pens like broncos. Food trucks offered plenty of refreshments such as root bear floats, burgers and funnel cakes. Kids had the opportunity to play games such as a large inflatable slide and a mechanical bull.
Johnathan East performed his original country music leading up to the rodeo.
A small pyrotechnic display emblazoned “PBT” within the bull ring and signaled the beginning of the rodeo itself, along with the national anthem led by the local Boy Scouts of America, followed by the introduction of the rodeo clown, judges and the competition’s participants.
The cowboys and cowgirls competed in front of packed stands in the humid July air. The animals proved fierce.
Just before the intermission featuring a comedy routine by the rodeo clown, the mini buckers performed; young aspiring cowboys held tight to bucking ponies in the ring, and just before the final round of bull riding, they also featured broncos.
Proceeds from ticket sales for the event went to the Pell City chapter of the National FFA Organization which seeks to expand opportunities for agricultural education for local teens. Though originally intended to train farmers, the organization has long since expanded to include many vocations and professions which may be linked to agriculture such as teaching, entrepreneurship and chemistry. They provide hands-on experience to cultivate skills in leadership. Their engagement with students is one of three essential components of agricultural education.
Since 2017 Premier Bulls Tour (PBT) has traveled across the southeast after forming under nine cowboys. They earned qualifications at two National Finals Rodeo and multiple Intercollegiate Rodeo Finals. They’re committed to protecting the integrity of the sport and delivering high quality entertainment for their events. According to the PBT website their “superior event standards fulfills the cowboy dream and unleashes the ultimate fan experience.”
In professional bull riding, each competition is determined by the performance of both the rider and the animal. In order to earn a qualified score, a cowboy must use only one hand to stay mounted on a bucking bull or bronco for a full eight seconds. Touching the animal, himself or his equipment disqualifies the rider. Each judge gives a score of 0-25 to each the rider for his performance and the animal its effort, and the scores are all combined into a possible total of 100 points. In saddle bronc and bareback riding, the cowboy must hold his spurs above the horse’s shoulders until they exit the chute and the horse’s hooves hit the ground after the initial jump.