The bull stops here

A bull rider is nearly trampled during the 5th annual Spring Twist-off Bullarama at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex on April 29.

ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News

The saying “toughest sport on earth” proved its worth on April 29 at the 5th Annual Spring Twist-off Bullarama.

The event, which featured 30 bull riders from World Professional Bull riding, was a success for the bulls this year, bucking off 24 of 30 riders.

Although the bulls had a high success rate, many of the riders were appreciative of the event, which is quickly being known as a major stop on the WPB tour.

“It’s good bull riding and good money,” stated Devon Mezei. “That’s the kind of bull riding everyone hopes for.”

Mezei, who won top prize in the short go, took a bit of a risk to get there.

In his first go round, the bull he was riding, which was ironically named Dog Quiet, seemed to have run out of energy during the ride and gave Mezei a 75. He was given the option for a re-ride but refused.

“It was a bit of a risk, but I knew there weren’t enough qualified rides at the time,” said Mezei. “It was more of a business decision.”

That decision paid off for 23-year-old Mezei, as he went on to the short go round against a few other riders, with only one other bull rider that was able to stay on for eight seconds.

“Oh, I was happy. Anytime you stay on a bull for eight seconds, it’s good. It sort of puts you on cloud nine,” said Mezei.

Mezei took home over $1800 in prize money, while the total prize pool was over $6000.

The bulls won over 80 per cent of the rides on the evening and proved they were a force to be reckoned with through the night. Numerous injuries to the bullriders, as well as, a worker set the tone for the night, but according to Mezei, seeing his fellow riders injured doesn’t affect him.

“Everybody here does it for a living. When someone gets hurt, it doesn’t bother you; it’s part of the game,” said Mezei.

Although the overhead costs are high and attendance numbers were down slightly from last year, Ponoka Ag Society’s Sherry Gummow still deemed the event a success.

“I’m pretty sure we turned a profit,” said Gummow.

Gummow and the Ponoka Ag Society make small tweaks to Bullarama every year to try to put on the best show possible and maximize the profit.

One major tweak next year for Bullarama is a venue change, moving to the near-complete Ponoka Ag-Event Centre on highway 2A.

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