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PBR to bring bull rides to Pala

The pasture across the parking lot from the Pala Casino will be the site of a Professional Bull Riders competition May 22 and 23.

The rodeo will have 70 entries in what PBR calls the Touring Pro Division. Thirty-five of those will ride in the Saturday afternoon performance while the other half will ride Sunday afternoon. The riders with the top 10 scores over both days will return for a “short go” late Sunday afternoon. The riders will compete for a total purse of $25,925.

The stock contractor for the Pala rodeo will be Cotton Rosser’s Flying U Rodeo Company, which is based in Marysville. One of Rosser’s subcontractors will be Nick Lucifero of Anza, who will have three bulls at Pala.

“It’s amazing,” Lucifero said of having three bulls at the Pala rodeo. “It’s really hard. There’s a lot of other good bulls out there.”

One of Lucifero’s bulls is five-year-old High Octane Hurricane, who is ranked as one of the top in the world. When High Octane Hurricane was two years old Lucifero took him to a bucking competition in Reno, where he placed tenth.

High Octane Hurricane has been ranked among the world’s top five bulls this year. He has a 50 percent buckoff rate with an average time of 5.20 seconds (a cowboy must stay on his bull for eight seconds to make a qualified ride). Judges score both the animal and the rider and combine those scores, so High Octane Hurricane’s average bull score of 42.80 for qualified rides equates to an average ride score of just under 86 points.

The 51-year-old Lucifero is a lifelong Anza resident. He rode bulls from 1972 to 1986 and has raised bulls for the past four years. This is his second year with PBR. Lucifero will have two other bulls at the Pala competition: four-year-old Dr. Pepper and five-year-old Boo-Boo Berry.

In rodeo what looks like a conflict can actually be a synergy. Multiple rodeos in nearby locations allow cowboys multiple opportunities to win money, and thus a nearby rodeo helps both rodeos attract top competitors. Although the Ramona Rodeo May 21-23 will include all seven events and the PBR competition May 22-23 will only have bull riders, the proximity of the two venues is attracting bull riders to Ramona.

The Ramona Rodeo, which will be the only Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association competition in California that weekend, received 282 total entries including 55 Bull Riding entries.

“It is good,” said Ramona Rodeo committee chair Joani Georgeson.

The Sunday afternoon performance is the only audience conflict between Ramona and Pala. The PBR performances will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The Ramona Rodeo will have 7 p.m. performance starts on Friday and Saturday nights

and a 2 p.m. start Sunday.

“I think it’s going to bring up especially our Friday night performance,” Georgeson said of the PBR event.

The Ramona Rodeo will use Honeycutt Rodeo, Inc., as its stock contractor. The opportunity to compete at Ramona also helped lure bull riders to Pala.

“Everybody wants the top-notch cowboys to come to their event,” Lucifero said.

Rodeo contestants pay entry fees, and while a small amount of that is used to help pay for support personnel most of the entry fee revenue becomes a jackpot which provides payouts to the highest-placing competitors.

Sponsor contributions provide “added money” which supplements the jackpot funding to account for the total prize money. The Ramona Rodeo has added money of $4,000 per event while PBR sponsors added $20,000 to the contestant-funded jackpot money. Each bull rider at Pala paid $150 for his entry.

Pala will become the second location in San Diego County with a PBR competition; the San Diego County Fairgrounds arena in Del Mar hosts a PBR event during the Summer.

Ed Kutz of Central California will be the announcer for the initial PBR competition in Pala while Alabama rodeo clown Brian Potter will entertain the audience when he is not helping the rodeo’s bullfighters protect the riders.

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