In a small town,
an evening full of loud country music, dirty boots and bulls snarling
through their snouts could only mean one thing. Rodeo time.
On Sept. 8 the Cheyenne and Arapaho (C&A) tribes Economic Development
and Lucky Star Casino, along with bucking bulls trainer, Jerry Mullins
collaborated on the first ever Buck Off Rodeo held at the El Reno
Rodeo in El Reno, Okla.
The stands filled with people eager to witness the first of
many rodeos to come within the C&A community. The Buck-Off featured
various activities, including mutton-busting, junior bull riding,
pro bull riders, pro stock, world famous one-armed bandit and buckle
presentation with $10,000 in added money for the event.
"We're showcasing the C&A Bucking Bull Company, they're starting
off with five professional bucking bulls that have been in Public
Bull Riding (PBR). I started seven years ago working on this idea,
a lot of my family members and friends are in their upper 60's and
70's and there's not a lot of people going back into this industry,
so what we're doing is putting on the rodeos, raising cattle, buffalo,
farming and ranching," Mullins said.
With some of the world's top professional bull riders present
at the Buck Off, onlookers were in for a sight to see. When timers
started and gates flew open, the fury of a 1700 lb. bucking bull
was witnessed by all as bull riders were thrown off the bulls one
way or another.
"The bulls are scored on ride-ability, the difficultly of the
bull and you can't touch the bull with any one of your hands, points
are deducted for if you touch the bull or your hand opens up," Mullins
The rodeo, according to Mullins, creates opportunities for kids
to take over the next generation of farmers and ranchers.
"We're going to start off with Indians first, I'm a tribal member
with the Comanche Nation. I believe that the first people should
have this opportunity to be the best in the game and that has never
happened before," Mullins said.
For the tribes, the investment of six professional bucking bulls
first began when Mullins sold a fee to the tribes for the buffalo
and cattle program.
"We looked at the bulls and I said there's an opportunity for
C&A people to get involved in this industry and start off on the
top of the game instead of starting at the very bottom like most
of us have to. They said they were interested, we put a proposal
together and I spoke with the Gov. Eddie Hamilton, Mannix, Nathan
Hart, we all got together and we created this event to showcase
these bulls, to show the C&A people in El Reno, Okla. and in southwest
Oklahoma that there's a need for this business. We want the C&A
people to be at the top of the game," Mullins said.
Promoting the Buck Off Rodeo also promoted the opportunity for
tribal youth interested in participating and learning skills associated
with bull riding.
Twins, Bucking Bulls Rodeo Princess rides into the arena greeting
spectators with a wave of her hand. (Photos / Latoya Lonelodge)
"Now that you have young tribal members that tried out the mutton
busting and miniature bulls and they see the professional ring that
gives them the opportunity, this is an outlet for those tribal members
to participate. Now there's a place to go, there's a place where
you can get on stock and now they can create their own company.
If you have a child out there that see's us and is interested or
excited or would try this event and that right there sparks that
interest," Mullins said.
According to Mullins, the reason for the bucking bulls is for
the entertainment part, "With farming and ranching, once you've
done all the hard work of building fences, working cattle, pulling
calf's, raising horses, after you done all that work, most farmers
and ranchers go to rodeos on the weekends. That's to let their hair
down and show their skills for what they practiced for doing work
during the week. I hope that these kids instill confidence, character,
moral work ethics and no matter what they face outside of high school
they're prepared for today," Mullins said.