Bull riding heads the list of Futurity-related events

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It has become as big a part of the Augusta Futurity as the cowboys and horses.

Dusty Marion of Randleman, N.C., competed in the Extra Inning World Championship Bull Riding competition during the Augusta Futurity in 2005. The popular event has been moved to Saturday.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Dusty Marion of Randleman, N.C., competed in the Extra Inning World Championship Bull Riding competition during the Augusta Futurity in 2005. The popular event has been moved to Saturday.

For the fourth consecutive year, the popular Extra Inning World Championship Bull Riding competition returns. The event will begin at 8 p.m. Saturday. Gates open at 6 p.m.

Traditionally, the bull riding competition has been held on the first Friday of the show. This year, it receives a more favorable day, said USC Aiken head baseball coach and event organizer Kenny Thomas.

"Saturday night is just more of an entertainment night," he said. "They got time to get out and not rush home from work

The past three bull riding events have sold out, and there's little reason to think James Brown Arena won't be full again. Thomas said 1,000 tickets were sold the first weekend the event was announced.

Spectators will watch 40 bull riders, who have been invited to the event. Those riders will compete for a share of the $30,000 purse.

The top eight riders will advance to the short go-round. Thomas said he expects the finalists to face even tougher competition when they qualify for the championship round.

"We're holding the best bulls for that round," he said. "We think that's going to make it even more exciting for the fans.

"We try each year to get a little better and a little better. The popularity of bull riding has just grown."

Another fan favorite is the Wrangler Family Fun Day. Like the bull riding event, it also switches days.

The Wrangler Family Fun Day will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday. The free event, which will feature a Western town, will take place on Seventh Street in front of James Brown Arena.

The event also will feature pony rides, a petting zoo, cloggers and the band Livingroom Legends.

"Sundays are traditionally family days," said Erin Lively, community relations manager of The Augusta Chronicle. "We expect a lot of families to come out for a fun day of activities."

One happening solely for adults is the Augusta Futurity Party, also known in the past as Augusta's Cowboy Ball. It remains in its traditional Wednesday position, but the party has a new name: the Futurity Country Dance. And there's a change of venue.

The past five years, the party has been held at Julian Smith Casino. Before that, it was located inside the James Brown Arena.

This time, the dance will be held at Coyote's nightclub from 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. The night will feature Sconyers barbecue (from 6:30-9) and Kris Gordon and The Coyote Band. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com.


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