The top bull riders from around the province will be pulling out all the stops this weekend in Williams Lake when $10,000 in added prize money gets put on the line at the B.C. Professional Bull Riders Finals.
The event, which starts both Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds, will feature the top 20 BCPB competitiors each riding two times both days in an effort to secure the season title and a portion of the hefty prize pool.
“It’s a big event,” said Roy Call, manager of C+ Rodeos, who will be bringing 50 of his toughest, meanest bulls to Williams Lake.
“The BCPB Finals have kind of bounced around between a few homes but Williams Lake is the perfect place for it, and it works great for the Harvest Fair. The Stampede Grounds are a great facility — one of the nicest facilities in the province for bull riding — so hopefully it’s found a permanent home here.”
Call said the format for the event is simple. Each rider’s first bull will be “user friendly,” but the second bull will be a ranked bull.
“Everybody has the same chances to win,” he said. “It’s a fun format to watch and the guys love it because they get to compete a couple times a day, and they also love it because we have great prize money. You’ll see some great bull rides.”
Of the top 20 bull riders competing this weekend, nine are from the Williams Lake area. Local riders include Ryan Jasper, Justin William, Brady Fuller, Grayson Winters, Evan Fuller, Jarred Beeds, Wacey Mulvahill and Robert Graham with Reid Fuller listed as an alternate.
Call said Jasper’s been hot heading into the finals, and should have a good shot at winning it all.
“He’s the guy who’s probably the hottest,” Call said. “He ran off with everything last fall … He won the finals and tore through the BC Rodeo Association, but this spring he came out, he bought a pro card, and went pro for the first 60 days and just flat couldn’t stay on. He was just cold. But here at the end of the season he’s riding really well so I’d say he’s one of the favourites.”
Jasper currently sits second in the BCPB with 5,689.89 points. Leading is Merritt’s Mike Gill with 7,024.05.
Call said fans hoping to see some excitement should keep their eyes peeled for one of his toughest bulls, Van Helsing — a 1,600-pound behemoth.
“They’ve ridden him twice in the last six years,” Call said. “The worst part is he’s really mean. At the Stampede this year, even with the kind of money up for grabs there, lots of guys won’t get on him. But this year they got on him all four days — he had three Canadian finals guys including two Canadian champions … all tough guys … and he dusted all four of them and he hooked three of them.
“The cowboys aren’t big fans of his, but the crowd loves him because something exciting is going to happen.”
Entertaining during the event will be Bert Davis, the Coppertown Clown, with his dog act, while Calgary’s Tyson Pietsch will call the action.
Kicking off the BCPB Finals will be the Little Britches Rodeo, followed by the Wild Pony Race at the intermission.