Bull bash made to thrill

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— Labor Day is more than a month away, but rodeo promoter Brent Romick said this year's Pro Bull Riding Classic is shaping up to be one of the best ever.

"We've made a few changes this year that are going to mean more seats," Romick said. "Last year, the arena was near capacity, so we are hoping that these extra seats will offer more."

Romick is bringing 1,000 extra seats to the arena for the event. A private company will provide the temporary bleachers, which will be set up on the arena floor. The seats will be five feet off the ground and ascend 27 rows high to provide a birds-eye view of all the action.

"They are going to be some of the best seats anywhere in the arena," Romick said.

With the additional arena seating, which will be reserved, Romick will be able to house nearly 4,000 people. If the event sells out, it will be a record crowd for the downtown arena.

Steamboat's Pro Bull Riding Classic is part of the Professional Bull Riders Association's U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company's Challenger Tour. This is the event's third year.

This year's event is tied to the Challenger Tour currently taking place at the Cheyenne Frontier Days. The top money winner in both events will earn a $2,004 bonus -- something Romick is hoping will draw all of the top riders.

The Steamboat Springs event will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 5. Tickets go on sale Wednesday at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, F.M. Light & Sons, Soda Creek Western Wear and Corral West Ranchwear in Craig.

Because of the bonus and the timing of the Steamboat Springs event, Romick expects to draw 45 riders from the top 55 riders in the world.

"All of the top riders love to come to Steamboat Springs," Romick said. "We've got a reputation for putting on one of the best shows anywhere and we have one of the best venues in the country."

Because of the event's reputation, Romick said 27 stock contractors have requested to supply the 62 bulls needed for the PBR event. He will be picking from a field of 700.

"That's about as deep as it gets," Romick said. "This promises to be one of the best field of bulls we've ever had. We can be pretty picky about which bulls come."

That selection process means more competition among stock contractors, a better ride for the world's top cowboys and a better Labor Day show for anyone who purchases a ticket to this year's Bull Riding Classic.

The event, which will be held in conjunction with Steamboat Springs Rockin' Roundup, has become a Labor Day tradition for Steamboat residents and a major holiday draw for visitors.

Reserved seats (adult) for this year's event are $33 in advance and $38 at the gate. Reserved seats for children 7-15 are $23 in advance and $28 at the gate. General admission is $23 in advance and $28 at the gate for adults and $18 in advance and $18 at the gate for children. A special standing room only ticket will be sold for $15 in advance and $18 at the gate.

--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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