A wild ride

By Craig Kelly

May 30, 2014

LIMA — The dirt will be flying today and Saturday at the Allen County Fairgrounds as Professional Bull Riding comes into town for the Potash PBR Lima Invitational.

For event organizer Russ Decker, the event will bring a lot of excitement and competition to the Schmidthorst Pavilion.

“For people who have never been to professional bull riding, it’s very fast paced,” he said. “Usually the bulls win. Very few riders can make that eight-second ride.”

The event will feature 35 of the top bull riders, along with some of the toughest bulls, in the world.

“This event is PBR, so the bulls and everything else here is sanctioned by the PBR,” Decker said. “We have riders coming in from 16 states, as well as five or six different countries. We’ll have stock contractors bringing bulls in for this event from six different ranches. There will be about 100 bulls here for the weekend, along with the 35 riders.”

Points earned during this event will be used to help get these riders to the world finals, scheduled for November in Las Vegas, as well as the $10,000 first prize at this event.

“If you watch a PBR event on television, you’ll see some of the same riders and bulls here, with the same judges evaluating them,” Decker said. “Of our 35 riders, eight are rated in the top 50 in the world.”

For those who follow bull riding, many familiar names will be in Lima over the weekend.

“The guy who won our event last year is Cody Vance. He went on to finish third in the world finals last year in Vegas,” Decker said. “One of the guys we have coming in this year is Gage Gay out of North Carolina. Right now, he’s leading the Rookie of the Year points in the PBR. At only 18, he’s already won three events on the tour and earned about $100,000 so far. He’s a hot commodity on the PBR tour and is a fan favorite.”

Decker encourages the entire family to come out and enjoy the excitement.

“We can’t stress enough that this is a family-friendly event,” he said. “We have a lot of vendors there, kind of like the fair.”