Bull riders fire up crowd at fair

Tate Harris is thrown off the bull Tomstone T on Thursday during the bull riding competition at the Mesa County Fair.

The Thursday night bull riding at the Mesa County Fair is a fan favorite.

“The (Bull Riding) and the Demolition Derby are two of our more popular events,” Donna Page of the Mesa County Fair said.


This year’s bull riding event was part of the Championship Bull Riding Horizon Series. The organization—  based out of Fort Worth, Texas — has the Cinch Tour for the top 35 riders in its series, and hosts the Horizon bull rides for the rest.

This is the first CBR Horizon event in Grand Junction.

“This is a lower-level event that gives the guys not in the top 35 an opportunity,” said Dan Brown of the CBR. “This is a way to get to events and win money.”

For bull riders, getting in events and winning money is what it’s all about. There were 35 bull riders in Thursday night’s event, including local riders like Grand Junction’s Clay Raiter and Fruita’s Tony Mendes.

Rifle’s Brice Osborne was making his first appearance in a CBR event. Only 18, Osborne is getting an opportunity to win money on a pro circuit.

“I get excited about riding,” Osborne said. “It’s just fun, and it’s doing what I like to do.”

Although Osborne is just getting into the bull riding lifestyle, there were many experienced riders at the fair.

Luke Haught of Weatherford, Texas, rode Frosty in the first section Thursday, and scored an 85. Haught, 26, has been riding bulls for 10 years.

“Ever since I was little, I wanted to ride bulls,” Haught said. “We try to hit three or four rodeos a week.”

The cowboys spend most of the summer traveling to different rodeos. Casey Thompson of Riverton, Utah, said he works to stay in shape when he’s not riding to protect against the rough schedule.

“I work out every day even when I travel I try to hit a gym,” Thompson said. “That helps ward off injuries so we can get on the bull and see what we’re made of.”

Montrose’s Eddy Lange provided the cattle, and said he looks for three things out of the bulls.

“We look at bulls that have a lot of kick, a lot of fire, and a lot of spin,” Lange said. “Those are my three things.”

Brown said he was happy with the stock that was provided.

“The bulls are really good,” Brown said. “We want them to where they buck, but aren’t eliminators, just something the guys can ride and get points on.”

The Mesa County Fair continues with team roping today at 7 p.m.


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