Rainy weather, mud doesn#8217;t stop crowds from coming to watch Bull Mania at fair

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 14, 2006

PROCTORVILLE — There was a lot of thick, sloppy mud Wednesday night at the Lawrence County Fair, but it didn’t keep the bulls from kicking up their heels during the Bull Mania show.

Riders tried their luck during the event, which was sanctioned by the Southern Extreme Bull Riding Association and sponsored by Bar W, a Boyd County, Ky., rodeo company that puts on various shows throughout the region.

Wes Webb, who owns Bar W with his younger brother, Jeff, said putting on a rodeo is hard work. But, he said he loves every minute of it. He quit riding a few years ago after nearly 20 years in the saddle, but said he still feels the excitement during each show.

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“I guess we do it for the same reason people jump out of planes,” he said with a smile. “You just get a rush from it.”

So far this year, the Webbs have put on four shows; during that time only four riders have successfully completed a full eight-second ride. But, the thrills and spills are what brought many of the spectators out to Wednesday’s show.

“We don’t them to get seriously injured or anything,” said Bobby Tom Evans, of Windsor Township. “But, it’s cool to see the riders struggle and then get bucked off. I guess it’s the man versus beast thing, it interests people.”

His 10-year-old son, Mitchell, agreed.

“I sometimes worry that they are hurt when they fall off, but then when I know they are OK, I think it’s pretty neat,” he said with smile. “The bulls are just so big and some of those cowboys are pretty skinny.”

Billy Dudding, 24, of Ashland, KY., has been riding bulls 10 years. The Frankfort, Ky., firefighter said he really doesn’t know how to describe what it feels like to challenge a bull. But, he admits he gets nervous nearly everytime out of the gate.

“I still get that rush. The day I don’t is the day I quit riding,” Dudding said.

He has suffered numerous serious injuries, including broken legs, bruised kidneys and numerous facial fractures. But, he never considered quitting the sport that he loves.

“I think these people are nuts,” said Beverly Williams, of Crown City. “But, its like a train wreck; you don’t want to look, but then you look anyway.”