BONNERS FERRY — The Kootenai River Days Selkirk Saddle Club Bull Bash came to the Boundary County Fairgrounds on July 8, delighting the audience for the second time this year.
Onlookers were treated to a show of muscle, man versus bull. With a roughly 1,700 pound bull beneath them, these daring cowboys took up the challenge for the title, and the show. The bull riding was paired with team roping, and other events, and kept the crowd lively and entertained.
In the bull riding competition, bulls are guided into the narrow bull chutes and separated with a metal gate. The rider then gets his rig ready and on the bull around the front end, just behind the front legs. This is what he will hold on to. Next, the back strap is put on just in front of the back legs. When the gate opens, this strap is pulled quickly, and it makes the bull buck. Then the cowboy holds on, with one hand in the air, per the rule. Another rule is the rider has to stay on the bull without touching the animal with the hand that is in the air for a full eight seconds.
Bulls are notorious for being stubborn. One bull thought he would have a go at telling the cowboys which way he wanted to exit the arena. After a standoff between two horse and rider teams, and a trip or two, he finally gave in and went where he was being directed, followed by the crowd shouting encouragement and applauding the efforts of the cowboys.
In the team roping competition, two teams of horse and riders get squared in the boxes on either side of the chute holding a steer. On the nod, the front gates of the chutes open and the steer springs out and gallops toward his fellows on the other end of the arena, with the two teams hot on his heels.
Each horse and rider team has a job — one is to rope the horns of the steer and the other is to flick the rope under the steer’s back heels. In a successful round, the steer comes to a stop with a rope on his horns, and one holding both back legs by the ankle.
With food vendors, a beer garden, and plenty of entertainment, the attendees showed their support with their cheers and applause.
The Bull Bash was sponsored in part by the companies with banners on the bull chutes, including Liberty Gas, Circle B Trailer sales, KG&T Septic, Larson’s Western Wear, and General Feed and Grain Inc. The event was organized by Selkirk Saddle Club and Wyatt Bucking Bulls. The top two bull riding contenders were: Dylan Hofeek on Mongo at 79 points, and Cody Guerard riding Nightmoves at 76 points.