Sports

Rodeo, Bulls front fun-filled Stampede

Rodeo bullfighters rush to the aid of Clint Craig, from Mena, Ariz., after his hand got caught in the rope after being bucked off Blowing Smoke during the second round at Xxtreme Bulls. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Rodeo bullfighters rush to the aid of Clint Craig, from Mena, Ariz., after his hand got caught in the rope after being bucked off Blowing Smoke during the second round at Xxtreme Bulls.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Bull riders have a lot to be scared of.

After all, they attempt to maneuver wild animals often weighing in at more than 2,000 pounds. Not only do they have to stay aboard this wild ride for 8 seconds, they have to try to get off while the bull is still kicking.

But none of those things are what can often worry Logan Knibbe, 26, the most.

“It’s more the fear of getting bucked off; the failure,” Knibbe, of Rockdale, Texas, said. “You want to do good so bad, sometimes it stops you from doing your best.”

It didn’t Sunday, as Knibbe was the only rider of more than 40 to complete two successful rides at Xtreme Bulls, the finale of the Kitsap Fair & Stampede which took place this week at Kitsap Fairgrounds.

“That bull is known for being real mean,” Knibbe said of Stinger. “He’s hard to ride. The main thing I was worried about is not getting hooked. The best place to be is on top of ’em.”

And that’s where Knibbe stayed.

The Texas cowboy began riding calves at the ages of 9 and 10, now finding himself about $20,000 outside the Xtreme Bulls Finals, beginning Oct. 26 in Las Vegas.

So with a total purse of $5,877 coming in, Knibbe is that much closer after earning his first career Xtreme Bulls win.

“It’s coming down to crunch time and I need it,” he said. “This’ll help.”

A packed Thunderbird Arena crowd turned out to see the Fair’s finale, a showdown between man and beast as riders from all over the world showed up to take a shot at the Xtreme Bulls crown.

“That’s the perfect way to finish,” Stampede rodeo director Joe Drouin said. “It’s a better way to finish than a normal performance.”

One of just 10 initial qualifiers, Knibbe’s opening-round score of 89 (featuring arguably the day’s smoothest dismount as he slid toward the bull’s rump and leapt off on the upswing, landing easily on both feet) was second after the first go to Pendleton, Ore., cowboy Joe Meling, who rode to a 90 for the top individual score of the day.

With 12 riders advancing to the finals, both Mason Michaelis of Caldwell, Idaho, and Tylee Lanham of Sweet, Idaho, advanced on random draw since only 10 had successful rides. Both were bucked early, but Michaelis’ was one of the rudest departures on the day.

About 4 seconds in, Michaelis got flipped off the back of Chili Pepper, a Salt River bull, landing hard on his supper shoulders and lower neck. To start the ride, Michaelis made a nice more to hang on when Chili Pepper dipped low to the ground. He was OK.

The crowd stayed heavily involved not only thanks to the playful banter between rodeo announcer Randy Corley, of Silverdale, and Canadian rodeo clown Crash Cooper, but because of the rides and riders.

In fact, after Marcus Michaelis, Mason’s brother, got bucked, a large section of the North section crowd bellowed “Reride!” in unison, a message the judges received loud and clear. He would also get bucked in the reride.

And while the finals were the toughest on the cowboys this time around, Knibbe said he was relieved just to make it.

“In the past it’s given me trouble, getting by the short run,” Knibbe said. “It’s a mental thing mostly. But this one is scary enough to keep me on him. I wasn’t worried about getting bucked. I was worried about staying alive.”

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