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Bulls, broncs and barrels… the culture of the east coast rodeo

A little dirt, and a whole lot of bucking bulls and broncos. It was a fast paced night at the American Roughstock Finals and the athletes, even the bull athletes, were ready to put their skills to the test.

Garth Nicely is a Stock Contractor. He provides the bulls for the rodeo. He says, “The more use we get out of the bulls, the better they do. Just like an athlete. The more they workout, the more they buck, the better shape they’re in.”

Each time competitors enter the arena, they put it all on the line.

Zane Armentrout, a professional bull rider, explains a recent scary experience. “Two weekends ago down in Abingdon. A bull pulled me down and right now I have a broken cheekbone, a shattered eye socket and I broke my sinus cavity into my brain cavity. All this is shattered.”

It’s all worth it in the end. For barrel racer, Julia Prebula, winning is the best feeling. “Nothing is cooler than running and going up and getting your check and being like, ‘Everything I worked for every single day is paying off’.

Although the rodeo is a competitive atmosphere, for some, it’s about the community the rodeo provides.

“You run into people up and down the east coast that’s from all over the world. People from up north, out west, down south. When it comes to rodeo, everyone’s about the same. We’re one big family. People may think it’s cliche, but we really are,” said professional bare back rider, Austin Ferguson.

The rodeo will continue tonight at 7 pm in Wytheville at the Appalachian Regional Expo Center.

Rachel Anderson

Multimedia Journalist

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