The 103rd Clovis Rodeo officially kicked off Thursday night at the Clovis Rodeo Grounds as the Professional Bull Riding tour took to the dirt.
A total of 41 riders took their chance at riding a bull for eight seconds in order to advance to the finals and win a $12,000 paycheck awaiting them. Those 41 riders included sixth-ranked Derek Kolbaba and ninth-ranked Joao Ricardo Vieira of Itatinga, Sao Paulo, Brazil, according to the PBR Built Ford Tough Series World Standings.
Kolbaba, from Walla Walla, Washington, ended up leaving Clovis with the $12,000 paycheck after an 85.5 ride on Flying Diamond Rodeo’s Bottle Rocket in the final round. He was one of only nine riders to ride their preliminary round bull for eight seconds in order to receive a score and advance to the final round.
“It’s great. like I’ve said this event is one we always try to get a swing in and stop in and it’s always a great event with the fans, just the whole atmosphere is a lot of fun,” Kolbaba said. “Anytime you can walk away with money like that it’s great. This is why we ride bulls is to come and compete and have a bunch of fun and it’s always great when you can draw good bulls and I lucked out today.”
Vieira was also one of those nine riders to advance to the finals but his final ride was one-tenth of a second away from receiving a score as he was only able to stay on his final bull for 7.9 seconds.
“Hometown boy” Aaron Williams of Pismo Beach also advanced to the finals and was in place to take home the paycheck before one of the last riders in Kolbaba got his chance to ride his bull and ended up outscoring Williams. The two were the only riders to stay on for eight seconds in the final round.
“It’s awesome competing this close to home, I get to wake up at 10 a.m. instead of 4 a.m. and try to get to the airport to fly to Boston,” Williams said. “I’ve really enjoyed this event, it’s a nice crowd, it’s a great venue, great bulls and really just a great time.”
The evening also included the crowning of this year’s Miss Clovis Rodeo during the intermission of the PBR event. Fresno State freshman and Old Town Clovis Kiwanis Club’s sponsored candidate, Madison Jones, took home the honor of being named the 2017 Miss Clovis Rodeo.
Following the final round of bull riding, the sold-out crowd took to the dirt to welcome award-winning country artist Joe Nichols to the arena. Nichols’ tour bus broke down on the way to Clovis so it was only him and a guitarist who were able to make the performance, but that didn’t stop him from performing his hit singles, “Yeah” and “Gimmie That Girl” as well as other top hits.
The Rodeo weekend will continue Friday night to open three days of PRCA Gold Tour Rodeo action followed by another concert, this one by the Eli Young Band. Clovis will host over 500 cowboys and cowgirls over the weekend for competition. Some of the top ranked cowboys in current standings coming into the weekend are scheduled to make appearances include Jacobs Crawley in Saddle Bronc, Ty Erickson in Steer Wrestling, Tim O’Connell in Bareback and Ty Wallace in Bull Riding.
Various top-ranked cowboys and cowgirls will be coming through Clovis this weekend trying to earn a share of the winnings up for grabs.
General admission standing-room-only tickets are all that’s left for the Friday night performance and concert, but over 200 tickets are still available for Sunday’s final day of the rodeo. Saturday’s rodeo performance, however, is completely sold out.
For more information on the rest of the weekend’s events and for tickets visit clovisrodeo.com.