Hundreds of cowboy hats and dirty boots filled the William “Bill” Cherry Agricultural Expo Center last weekend for the semiannual Bull Blowout, hosted by the Murray State Rodeo team.
The featured events were bull riding and barrel racing and exhibition events for children such as the calf scramble and mutton busting.
Mutton busting is for children 6-years-old and younger ride sheep. The participants attempt to stay on for eight seconds, like the bull riders.
The longest eight seconds in sports took place while approximately 40 men tried to stay on one of the many bulls determined to buck them off.
While the men had eight seconds or less of competition, the women’s barrel racing last a little longer with most rides lasting approximately 15 seconds.
Parsons and Milam Rough Stock Contractors promote and contract out bulls for events like this. They are also the sponsors for Bull Blowout.
Several of the bulls had names such as Jug Head, Peter Pan, Houdini and Mean Machine.
Taylor Smith, sophomore from Benton, Ky., said she loves competing in the barrel racing events at her home arena.
“My favorite part about competing is getting to show the fans what I have worked so hard to accomplish,” Smith said. “I trained my barrel horse myself, and with the win here at Murray I got to prove to people that I could do it.”
She said one of her favorite parts of competing is when the crowd starts cheering and her adrenaline is rushing.
Smith said she won first place at the college rodeo in the barrel racing that took place on Oct. 4-6.
“To have family members and friends come out and cheer me is on amazing,” Smith said.
Kyle Smith, freshman from New Springfield, Ohio., said it was very exciting be able to compete at his home arena in front of a full audience of people.
Smith was one of the many bull riders that competed during the Bull Blowout.
“We also held a college rodeo in the expo center over fall break so being able to compete in that arena twice in the month was awesome because we were competing in front of a home crowd that was very supportive,” Smith said. “My favorite part of competing is the feeling after you make a good ride or have a good run. It’s just like making a game winning touchdown or hitting a home run, just in the rodeo arena.”
Kaitlyne Davis, graduate student from Kevil, Ky., represents Murray State as Miss MSU Rodeo.
She said representing Murray State as Miss MSU Rodeo is a great honor.
“I am so blessed to have this privilege,” Davis said. “Carrying the flag at any rodeo performance is a privilege and an experience that I love.”
Davis has the title of Miss MSU Rodeo for one year.
“As I ride around the arena and see all of the former and current military members saluting the flag, and the crowd stopping what it is doing as soon as the flag enters the arena gives me a sense of pride for our country,” Davis said. “Any competition is just as exciting as the next, however, being on ‘home turf’ and knowing that fellow team members and classmates are competing with me and are in the crowd is an awesome feeling.”
The next Bull Blowout is in February. For more information on the University’s Rodeo team, call 270-809-3039.
Story by Meghann Anderson, Assistant News Editor