Bullriders of America Finals - One Of My Favorite Times Of Year!
It’s been such a crazy year and a half, but it finally felt normal to have the Bullriders of America bring their finals competition to Ottumwa this past weekend. It’s been held in February for the past 9 years, but this year it was moved to May. As if I’m not already confused enough as it is. And it changed from a 2-day event to a three-day, so that didn’t help things in my brain.
Two days started with Cowboy Breakfast with the bulls, which is always so much fun! This year one of the bulls would walk right up to its owner, so the kids (and a few adults) got to meet him up close and personal.
We sat at the breakfast table with two adorable kids and their mom, and we introduced them to Dalton, the barrel man for the weekend. He had them help him with a rope trick and had them smiling in no time!
It always amazes me how big some of these bulls are. And when they stare at you like this, it’s more than a little intimidating.
The special event the first night is always Kids Night, where they invite them out onto the dirt to learn how to be a real-life cowboy! We were able to help usher them in and out, talking to them all and helping their parents get some great pictures.
While we were standing there, I looked down and realized something: it’s pretty obvious who wears their boots more often.
I purposely didn’t take very many pictures during the bull riding itself this year. I wanted to enjoy the time with my husband, most importantly, and with a friend who sat with us the second night. It’s been my habit through all my different jobs to see life through my camera, instead of watching it in real time. So I have a few “stuff on fire, like the BOA emblem and the barrel man’s whips” pictures, but beyond that, there are very few. And I’m ok with that.
And at the end of every evening, the bull riders go out on the dirt, set up tables and sign autographs for everyone in attendance. It’s one of my favorite parts of this organization, that the families are the most important people there, even after the pain and the struggle of riding a bull. And that’s why I can’t wait until next year.