LIMA — As one rider put it, “these aren’t just show calves.”
Thirty bull riders converged in Lima Friday to participate in the Potash PBR Lima Invitational held at the Allen County Fairgrounds Friday. It is the fourth year for the event.
Many of the riders are up-and-comers to the sport, the equivalent of a highly-touted rookie in baseball or football. Several others have advanced to the national finals in Las Vegas in the Built Ford Tough series of bull riding. The Lima series is a Challenger Series event as the Ford Series is on break until August. Riders can earn points at the Lima event trying to qualify for the $1 million prize in Las Vegas.
“This is the fourth year we have had the event, and it grows every year,” said event organizer Justin Cornwell. “We keep growing, and more and more businesses are coming forward to help us make it successful.”
Cornwell said the 30 riders will compete for the top 10, who will again ride in the final. The event continues at 7:30 p.m. today. The riders come from 18 different states and four countries.
Proceeds from the event this year will benefit Ronald McDonald Charities. Cornwell said the event has given about $60,000 to charity in the first three years. About 2,500 attendees were expected for both nights of the event.
Professional rider Cody Martin said there is a lot that goes into bull riding.
“You have to be an athlete,” Martin said. “You spend a lot of time practicing.”
While a lot of preparation goes into the event, Martin said the mental aspect is the biggest factor.
“Not just anyone can do it,” Martin said. “You have to have a lot of heart. You have 1,800 pounds of bull that wants to kill you.”
Martin said it is the perfect way for adrenaline junkies to make a living.
Riders are competing for a $20,000 prize as well as points.
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter@LanceMihm