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Rodeo Alaska bull riders prepare for the big show

Published: Jul. 18, 2020 at 4:30 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -Like many things this summer, this year’s Rodeo Alaska event will look a little different.

“We have masks, we have hand sanitizing stations throughout the whole entire event,” the owner of Rodeo Alaska, Frank Koloski said.

The weekend event started Saturday featuring rodeo performances including barrel rolling and bull riding.

“As you can see right behind I got this guy right here named Whisky River, and he’s bucking all weekend along with some of our finest bucking bulls in the state.” Koloski said as he pointed towards a brown colored bull.

One of the competitors, Warren Simpson, is a bull rider originally from Wasilla.

“I started out as a kid racing motor cross and then had a buddy that wasn’t racing anymore and he said come to a rodeo and I said, ‘all right',” Simpson explained. “So I have been doing it now for 13 years and have been traveling the states coast to coast riding a lot of P.B.R. (Professional Bull Rider) [and] P.R.C.A. (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) pro shows.”

Simpson says he still gets nervous before the big shows but he enjoys the adrenaline rush that comes with bull riding.

“Honestly bull riding is 90% mental and 10% skill. As long as you get over the fact that you are just sitting on a bull and you are going to be out there riding a bull then you realize the safest place to be in the entire arena is the center of his back.” Simpson said.

Koloski explained they normally attract rodeo stars from all over the world, but this year because of COVID-19 they are keeping it all Alaska talent.

“This is our tenth year anniversary. It’s kind of sad that we are only having a couple of rodeos this summer where we are usually eight to ten, but it’s all good. I’m happy to be here, I’m happy for everybody to be here and be a part of this.” Koloski said.

If you missed the rodeo Saturday, the “Ram Championship Rodeo” takes place Sunday at 2pm at the Fairgrounds.

“Come and enjoy a great weekend, plenty of room to social distance if you want; but for me, the social distancing is going to be when these bull riders get on these bulls.” Koloski added.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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