LIMA — Anyone wanting to see professional bull riders mount more than 2,000 pounds of raw, bucking muscle will have to travel no farther than the Allen County Fairgrounds in June.
The Professional Bull Riders tour is coming to the fairgrounds on June 7 and 8. This tour is considered the minor league of professional bull riding, but some of the best riders in the world will be there.
“These are the riders who are trying to make it to the elite series,” said Denise Abbott, a spokeswoman for PBR. “You will get a mix of up-and-comers and some of the stars.”
Tickets are not yet for sale; details on cost and availability have not been released.
The reason some of the sport’s biggest stars may be in Lima is due to the points standing. Throughout the season there are cuts, with the top five from the lower ranks moving into the elite division and five moving down from the elite division, she said.
Bull riding is scored on various things. Riders must remain on a bull for at least eight seconds to qualify. Riders then are judged on a series of criteria based on performance such as the amount of control the rider has, Abbott said. All judging is based on what happens in eight seconds as long as the rider makes it that long.
Riders earn up to 50 points, and a bull can earn up to 50 points for his performance — and it's judged on how well or high it bucks.
“There are two athletes in a bull ride, the bull and the rider,” she said.
Riders want bulls that are hard to ride, giving them a chance to earn more points, she said.
The tour will include 35 men riding in two rounds, one the first night and next round on Saturday. There is a third round for the top 10 finishers after two rounds. The overall winner will have the most points through three rounds, Abbott said.
Sometimes no rider in the third round last eight seconds because of the talent of the bulls. If that happens, the winner is the rider at the top of the standings for the first two rounds, she said.
There will be close to 80 bulls brought in for the event. Each weighs between 2,000 to 2,400 pounds, Abbott said.
Riding will begin at 7 p.m. each night with the competition lasting a couple hours, she said.
Riders mount a bull inside a bucking chute, secure a grip with one hand, nod and hang on for as long as they can after the chute opens.
“They all are aspiring to be the PBR world champion,” she said.