Professional bull riding is coming to Red Deer Saturday night.
The fifth annual Rebel Energy Services Professional Bull Riding, which features 25 top Canadian bull riders, begins at 7 p.m. Jan. 12th at the Centrium.
Event promoters Jeff and Andria Sahli, who co-own Adrenalin Production, say the $10,000 purse provides winners with a good kick off to the 2019 season.
The bull riding event averages about 3,000 spectators each year and features professional bull riding, junior bull riding and bullfighters.
Some familiar names in town next weekend include Ponoka’s Wacey Finkbeiner, Jared Parsonage of Maple Creek and Todd Chotowetz, as well as names from the United States and New Zealand.
Riders are members of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) and Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
Last year, Ponoka’s Zane Lambert was the bull riding champion.
This year, well-known rodeo clown and four-time CPRA Entertainer of the Year Dennis Halstead will be making spectators laugh throughout the night.
“We’re super excited to have him in the arena with us this year,” said Andria. “It just adds a little extra entertainment this year and he’s kind of fun for the kids. The kids really like him.”
The community in Red Deer has provided excellent support for the bull riding event over the years.
“Every year we just get more and more sponsors, more spectators and more people want to be involved in it,” Jeff said.
“It’s always growing and we’ve always had really good success with people coming out supporting and watching.”
Each year, there is a 50/50 draw, with all the proceeds going to a local charity.
In the past, Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter (CAWES) and Ronald McDonald House have been recipients.
This year, Red Deer’s Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre, which provides support to children with special needs, will receive the donation.
Andria called the local rodeo family-oriented. Their son, Carter Sahli, who competed in the Canadian Finals Rodeo last Fall in steer riding, is kicking off his bull-riding career this season.
“It’s just something that we’ve felt Red Deer could take advantage of and would be a great success,” she said. “It’s now something that we can now pass on to our kids.”