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Wednesday, Jul 18th

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‘Wild Thing’ to pile on the excitement for its 25th anniversary

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Expect the unexpected next weekend

The 25th annual Wild Thing Championship Bullriding rolls into Red Rock Park July 13-14. This year’s event promises to live up to the excitement and visitor expectations, as said by event organizer Larry Peterson.

“There’s always something special at Wild Thing,” he said.

The concept for Wild Thing began brewing in Peterson’s head about 26 years ago, with the goal to putting on a fun, professional show for everyone to enjoy. From bringing in top pyrotechnics, bucking bulls, announcers and funny men, Peterson said he and organizers try to improve the event every year.

“[We] just keep fighting hard and climbing that ladder, [and] making the show really fun for everybody,” he said.

Visitors have thought of Wild Thing as a rodeo throughout its history, but Peterson says it is more than that. It is home to the number one open bull riding show in the southwest that even non-rodeo/bull riding buffs enjoy.

The event features some of the most competitive and rankest bulls around, and their riders are going for large payouts, with a total purse of $28,000 and $10,000 guaranteed for the first place finisher.

“There’s a difference [between a rodeo and bull riding]. The entertainment and electricity level is so much higher than a normal rodeo,” he said.

To that end, Peterson said that classic rock and roll is played during the show to match the intensity of the bulls.

“[The] entertainment level is off the hook,” Peterson said. “[Visitors should] expect the unexpected. [There are] some surprises for everybody. There’s so much fun than just the bull riding.”

In addition to the championship bull riding, visitors will find entertainment that includes a fireworks show which is touted to be bigger and better than ever in celebration of Wild Thing’s 25th anniversary. Some of the top entertainers and announcers in the industry will return to the arena.

These events are all hooked together for two and a half hours of action with a short intermission.

One event that will have attendees hanging on the edge of their seats is Cowboy Poker. Participants try to play the game while a bull charges around the arena – and towards them. The last person left sitting is the winner.

In addition, six seasoned wooly riders will compete to win Wild Thing championship buckles. The riders have qualified from previous events, so they will be at their best, Peterson said.

There is also pre-entertainment for visitors who arrive early, Peterson said. This includes games such as a balloon toss and a sack race, where people from the crowd get involved to help pass the time until the main event.

“So many people arrive early to get the good seats,” Peterson said.

It has been the support of the community that has allowed Wild Thing to last for 25 years, along with getting sponsors to help put on the event every year, Peterson said.

“We have been very fortunate, with events crashing all over the country that ours has been growing and maintaining, and everybody loving [it],” he said.

The event happens only once a year, so Peterson encourages everyone to go and enjoy the festivities.

Visitors support the Manuelito’s Children Home via parking fees and concessions. Wild Thing has been the biggest annual fundraiser for the home, Peterson said.

“Take the family and go out and enjoy the thing,” he said.

Advanced tickets can be purchased at Castle Furniture, T&R C-Store, T&R Feed, and Rico Auto Complex with adult tickets $19 and $22 for Friday and Saturday, respectively, and $8 for children’s tickets. Tickets at the gate will cost $25 for adults and $10 for children ages 6-11.

For more information, visit Wild Thing Championship Bullriding Facebook page.

By Cody Begaye
Sun Correspondent

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