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A lot of bull: Professional Bull Riding Tour making stop here

Sunday, April 17, 2005

(Photo)
Justin Wibbenmeyer and Nathan Hawkins, both members of the Sikeston Jaycee Professional Bull Riding Committee, dig up a water line at the Jaycee Rodeo Grounds.
Leonna Heuring

Standard Democrat

SIKESTON -- Rodeo fans who can't wait until August will have a chance to whet their appetites a little early.

For the first time, the Professional Bull Riders will compete in Sikeston during the Health Facilities Rehab Sikeston Jaycee PBR Tour on June 3 and 4 at the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo Grounds.

"PBR has been wanting to do something with Sikeston for years," said Jason Pounds, Sikeston Jaycee sponsors and publicity chairman. "It will be a wild deal and a wild show."

Corporate-sponsored by Enterprise and locally headlined by Health Facilities Rehab, the event is a precursor to the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo set for Aug. 10-13.

"It's gonna be a huge deal and it's a new project for us," said Justin Wibbenmeyer, Sikeston Jaycee chairman of the PPR event. "And I think it will go over great, and if it does, we'll bring them back next year."

More than 700 bull riders from the United States, Canada, Brazil and Australia hold PBR memberships, and nearly 40 different cowboys will perform each night of the two-day event.

"They show it on TV every week, and it's the fastest growing sport behind NASCAR," Pounds said about PBR.

In fact over 100 million viewers tune in each year to the PBR on NBC, OLN (Outdoor Life Network) and in Spanish on Telemundo.

"Whatever you see on TV is what you should expect in June," Pounds said. "For instance, when they introduce all of the cowboys on TV, they do all kinds of explosions. They'll do that here."

Event spectators can also expect to see some familiar faces. For example, barrelman Rick Young, who has been performing at the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo for years, will participate in the PBR, Pounds said.

Some of the top bull riders will be seen at the event, Pounds added. Although no local residents will participate -- bull riders must have a PBR card and be a PBR member to take part -- a top rider from Missouri is set to appear, too.

"We're also looking to bring in a certain person who has been a World Champion," Wibbenmeyer said.

By mid-May -- the deadline for bull riders to enter the event -- the Sikeston Jaycees will know exactly who the participants will be and will release a list of those riders to the public.

Like the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo in August, all of the proceeds from the PBR event will go back to the community, both Pounds and Wibbenmeyer pointed out.

"This is just another way for us to give more money back to the community," Pounds said. "Over the last five or six years, the rodeo has raised over $100,000, and it pays. Buying a ticket is just giving money back to the community."

With a little over a month away, the Jaycees are already preparing for the competition, Wibbenmeyer said.

"We've just been getting the grounds ready, making sure chutes are working and all of concessions are cleaned up," Wibbenmeyer said.

Wibbenmeyer also commended the Sikeston Jaycees for their help with getting ready for the PBR competition.

"It's an event to get everybody ready and pumped up about the rodeo in August," Wibbenmeyer said. "And it gives them a reason to look forward to the summer and something to be a little more excited about in June."

Gates open at 6 p.m. and the first buckout is at 7 p.m. General admission is $10, and tickets may be reserved by calling 1-877-472-5233.