The annual Wild Thing Championship Bull Riding is more than just bull riding.
It’s entertainment for the entire household as the renowned event celebrates its 30th year. The two-day event gets underway on Friday at Red Rock Park with showtime starting at 8 p.m. on both nights.
Wild Thing promoter Larry Peterson said his widely popular event pits the top bull riders against the top bucking bulls from stock contractors Sammy Andrews Rodeo Company, Owen Washburn and 4B Bucking Bulls.
And although the actual bull riding is the main attraction, the extravaganza has plenty of entertainment for the non-bull riding enthusiasts.
“Granted our bull riding is off the hook, but not everybody is a big bull riding fan,” Peterson said. “We have a lot more to offer with the big fireworks, wooly riding, Cowboy Poker, the top-of-the-line announcer, the music, the funnyman and the pregame stuff that we do.
“All of that plays into the off-the-hook, wild, and great entertainment that we have,” he added. “You really don’t have to be much of a bull riding fan to just love the show.”
Peterson said his crew has been super busy for the past few weeks getting the show ready, which is expected to draw a huge crowd.
“All of our Wild Thing crew have been working very hard,” Peterson said. “One of the things that I’m most proud of is we became the biggest fundraiser for the Manuelito Children’s Home. They were part of it from the beginning, and I’m so proud to help them because people forget about that children’s home out there.”
With the City of Gallup forgoing a Fourth of July pyrotechnic show this year, fireworks aficionados can get their fix in watching the state-of-the art fireworks show at Wild Thing.
“The city hasn’t had one for three years now,” Peterson said. “We had the same pyrotechnic people and those people had to stop a few years ago. I got on the search and found a new company to do our display.
“I looked at 17 companies and I found one to come here and keep doing what Wild Things does,” he added.
Peterson said this year’s bull rider entries include a handful of returning champions.
“We got Robertson Cody coming out of retirement,” the Wild Thing promoter said. “He’s a two-time winner. He got a hold of me and he hasn’t been on a bull for a long time.”
It’s unknown when Cody last competed at Wild Thing, but he was the event winner in 2004 and 2005.
“He’s coming out of retirement, and he’s gonna make another run at it,” Peterson said.
Lane Nobles, a two-time winner, is also making an appearance as well as 2019 champion Cody Jesus.
“Cody Jesus is riding on Friday night,” Peterson said. “We also have Robbie Taylor Jr., the defending (INFR) world champ.”
Other notable riders include Professional Bull Riding bull riders Junior Patrik Souza and 2002 PBR world champ Ednei Caminhas.
“We have some top hands coming, but we have a bunch of other good riders coming from Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma and all the Diné riders,” Peterson said. “We got some guys from up north, so we got a good lineup coming.”
Peterson said they have also hired a new funnyman in Colt Hartt.
“He’s from way back East,” Peterson said. “He lives about an hour from the ocean and I think he’s gonna be really great. I think a lot of people will get a really good kick out of him.”
With it being the 30th anniversary, Peterson said they will introduce a Wild Thing collector’s coin.
“I don’t know of any rodeo or bull riding has ever done that,” Peterson said. “We got that and a bunch of new clothes. The Children’s Home is putting up a great concession. It’ll all be good.”
People who plan on attending the event are reminded that backpacks, coolers and folding chairs are not permitted at this nonalcoholic event.
Peterson also noted that dogs are not allowed.
“There’s too many people and the fireworks are too strong,” he said. “It scares them to death.”