Bull-A-Rama '98 pleases audience with thrills, spills Perhaps the most critical moment for a bull rider is when the powerful, four-legged animal he's trying to stay on first leaves the chute. Allen Stokely of Sioux City keeps a tight grip on his bull's rope as it begins bucking into the ring at the Clay County Fairgrounds. by David Lias "There are few sights as beautiful or as inspiring as witnessing a bullfighter of the rodeo arena move into a twisting, raging, catastrophe in the making, move a bull away from a rider who is down, do this at incredibly close quarters, and to make it look easy to boot!"
Cowboy preacher and poet Ed Nesselhuf of Vermillion wrote those words as a prelude to his poem, Dances With Bulls.
The crowd that turned out at the Clay County Fairgrounds Saturday afternoon soon discovered that Nesselhuf knows what he talking about.
Approximately 30 bullriders from both the Vermillion area and from such out-of-state places as Kansas City, KS and Ashland, NE came to the fairgrounds to test their riding abilities and their physical prowess against those of a small herd of raging bulls.
In most cases, the bulls won, keeping bullfighters/clowns Michael "Too Tall" Kennedy of Elmwood, NE, and Darin "Kamikaze" Reed, Ottawa, KS, busy risking their own necks to make sure that cowboys that already had been sufficiently rattled by their ride didn't get stomped into the ground by the heavy bulls.
When the dust had settled at the end of the day, Randy Duda, Greeley, NE, was determined to be the first place winner in the main event bull riding with 158 points. Pat Burk, Ewing, NE, placed second with 151 points; Darrin Fisher, Centerville, won third place with 145 points; fourth place went to Cody Hallenbeck, O'Neill, NE, who scored 71 points; and Jim Anderson placed fifth with a score of 69.
Todd Mockler, Vermillion, who was sponsored by Mockler Dairy, won the business persons bull riders competition. And bringing home first place honors among the Teener Bull Riders was Bryan Anstine, Utica.
More than just the participants and the audience benefited from Saturday's show, however.
Bull-A-Rama is made possible by the Coyote Country Rodeo Club, a non-profit organization which relies on the help of sponsors and the public's support of the annual bullriding competition to collect funds each year.
That money is, in turn, donated back to the local community. Recipients of Bull-A-Rama donations over the past four years have included the Clay County Veterans Memorial, the fire and or ambulance departments in Vermillion, Elk Point, Gayville and Yankton, Vermillion High School After Prom Party, South Dakota Public Television, STAR, International Order of Oddfellows, Washington, D.C. delegation, the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Vermillion Hospice, the United Way, Special Olympics, DARE, and the Clay County Fair Board.