Featured photo by Valerie Shelton – PBR cowboy Nathan Burtenshaw earned a score of 80.50 riding Painted Pudge.
By Valerie Shelton, Editor
Bull-riding loving spectators filled the stands at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds on Thursday, April 21 to witness some of the best bull riders in the nation take on some of the toughest bucking bulls.
The first out of the chute was local PBR cowboy Jonny Perez of Madera.
“It was a little nerve-wracking, honestly,” Perez said about performing first at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds PBR event. “You know you come here thinking about all the other people but you just have to block that out and do yourself. I personally love being the gunner, as they call it, the first guy out, because it gives me a chance to show what I’ve got and you’ve got the vibe of the atmosphere.”
Perez had the first qualified ride of the night, earning a strong score of 79.5. Not bad for his first time at the Clovis Rodeo.
“This is my first time here at the Clovis Rodeo for the PBR,” he said. “I watched PBR ever since I was little and looked up to the guys who are still riding today. I live right down the road about 20 minutes so when I got the chance to enter, I definitely took it and I couldn’t be more excited.”
Perez has been in the PBR for two years and said its qualifying rides like this that boost his confidence.
“I am going to stay on the circuit and just do the best I can and rides like today are going to keep me going,” Perez said. “It builds my confidence and shoots me through the roof and I just have to keep on going.”
Perez got his bull-riding start at 18, training at Jerry Brown’s Bull Riding in Friant.
“I was like a kid in a candy store; I just wanted to get on more and more bulls and it’s a blessing to go right up the road from Madera to go get on some bulls in Friant and then I never thought I would be here in Clovis,” Perez said. “It is a dream come true being able to ride a bull here.”
The big winner of the night was cowboy Fraser Babbington, whose 87.5 ride on Flying Diamond Rodeo’s bull Wild Eyes kept him in the money. Other riders of the night included Mike Lee, Shane Proctor, Luis Blanco and Ryan McConnel.
The bull riders were joined by PBR funny man and fan favorite Flint Rasmussen who entertained the crowd.