Sports

15 minutes? Kitsap ready for 8 big seconds

Rodeo bull fighters rushed to the aid of Clint Craig, from Mena, Ariz., after his hand got caught in the rope after being bucked off his bull during the second round of Xtreme Bulls last year.  - Jesse Beals/file photo 2007
Rodeo bull fighters rushed to the aid of Clint Craig, from Mena, Ariz., after his hand got caught in the rope after being bucked off his bull during the second round of Xtreme Bulls last year.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/file photo 2007

t ESPN will

televise Xtreme Bulls event around the country.

Bull riders aren’t the type to search for 15 minutes of fame. All they’re asking for is eight seconds.

And now, pending the finalization of a contract well in the works, they’ll get it.

This year’s Xtreme Bulls event, taking place the last day of the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede, will be televised nationally on ESPN, the direct result of moving up to Division I in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association-sactioned ranks.

That means even more exposure for the rapidly growing rodeo.

“Typically, you do not think of Bremerton when you talk about rodeo,” Frank Abbott, Fair and Special Events co-manager said. “It validates that we are as good and, in most cases, better than most rodeos you historically think about.”

The Fair & Stampede rodeo is coming off its most successful year to date, having garnered its third consecutive nomination for PRCA Pro Rodeo of the Year. Last year, the event dished out a record total of $154,808 in prize money. That figures to grow even higher now, with the division leap providing $40,000 more into the purse.

While the existing Xtreme Bulls event always brought in a handful of the top-ranked riders in the world, the jump to D-I will rope most, if not all, the best, Sam Dunn, Xtreme Bulls Tour Director, said.

“When the tour comes in, we’ll bring the top 40 bull riders in the world,” Dunn said. “When we bring ESPN and the tour, the fans up there are gonna be in for a real treat. It’ll be a terrific event.”

The idea to jump from Division II actually kicked off when Winnercomm, the nation’s largest independent sports production, development, marketing and sales rep company, and Dunn contacted Abbott and co-manager Lauran Erickson.

“Winnercomm made contact with us probably a month ago,” Abbott said. “They asked if we were up to being a Division I. For somebody like that to approach us about Bremerton rodeo speaks highly.”

Much like word of the Fair & Stampede has spread amongst those embedded in the world of rodeo, its reputation also spread to Winnercomm.

“They’ve got a good reputation there for the rodeo in Bremerton,” Dunn said. “What we hear is how it’s a professionally run event. Definitely the cowboys are treated very well there. And they have good livestock. Those are the things that are important.”

The event, which is Aug. 24 this year at the Fair’s conclusion but will be aired via tape delay by ESPN, won’t change very much of what’s worked in the past. Rather, components, like an opening show, will be added.

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