Bull riding event one of many thrills of Augusta Futurity week

SARA CALDWELL/FILE
Jared Farley, of Kempsey, New South Wales, Australia, fell off a bull named Trips during the 11th annual USC Aiken Baseball Extra Inning Bull Riding last January at James Brown Arena.
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Eight seconds is the blink of an eye unless you live in Allen Pippin’s world.

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Jackson Evans, then 5, from Grovetown, laughed while riding a mechanical bull before the 2012 USC Aiken bull-riding event.  SARA CALDWELL/FILE
SARA CALDWELL/FILE
Jackson Evans, then 5, from Grovetown, laughed while riding a mechanical bull before the 2012 USC Aiken bull-riding event.

“An eight-second ride is a really, really long time,” said Pippin, a McDonough, Ga., bull rider ranked fifth according to the Professional Cowboy Association.

He will be competing in the University of South Carolina Aiken Baseball Extra Inning Bull Riding at James Brown Arena starting at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19.

Tickets are $10, $18 and $22 from georgialinatix.com, (877) 4AUGTIX or the James Brown Arena box office.

While many of the bull riders Pippin competes against have a family tradition of bull riding, Pippin didn’t become interested in the sport until he was in high school.

“A buddy got me into it, and I’ve been doing it ever since,” said Pippin, who has been a professional for five years. He spoke via telephone Friday from an event in Biloxi, Miss.

Pippin said he tried out the sport for about three years before he got serious.

“It’s my passion,” he said. “I really love what I do.”

A huge adrenaline rush and big paychecks for the winners are also perks. Some events promise as much as $250,000 to the winner, he said. The top prize in the Jan. 19 event is more than $15,000.

This is the 12th annual USCA event held before the Augusta Futurity, according to USCA baseball coach Kenny Thomas.

“This is becoming a big tradition in Augusta,” said Thomas.

Average attendance is about 5,500, said Thomas, but there have been capacity crowds.

Pippin has participated in this event several times.

“It brings top-name guys and top-name bulls,” Pippin said. He expects this year to be no different.

The USCA Baseball Extra Inning Bull Riding event is a fundraiser for the USCA baseball program.

“It helps with scholarships, operating funds. It’s a major, major part of our program,” Thomas said.

The Wrangler Family Fun Fest, a free event, is planned for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, outside the arena.

For more on the Augusta Futurity, visit augustafuturity.com.

AUGUSTA FUTURITY

TICKETS: Prices vary by event. Call (877) 428-4849, go to georgialinatix.com or visit the James Brown Arena box office. For full details, see augustafuturity.com.
General admission Gold Ticket: $35 (all daytime events, Jan. 20-26, until 6:30; and Thursday night, Jan. 24)
Daily Daytime Events: Jan. 20-26, general admission $9 adults, $2 under age 13
CSRA Night: Jan. 24, 7 p.m.; reserved seating $14.50 adult; $5 under age 13
Classic Finals: Jan. 25, 6 p.m.; reserved seating $14.50 adults; $5 under age 13
Futurity Finals: Jan. 26, 4 p.m.; general admission $14.50 adults; reserved seating $16.50 adults, $4 under age 13

CHAMPIONSHIP BULL RIDING: Saturday, Jan. 19, 8 p.m.; James Brown Arena; benefits USC Aiken baseball scholarship fund; $22, $18 and $10 for ages 12 and under; georgialinatix.com, (877) 4AUGTIX, James Brown Arena box office

WRANGLER FAMILY FUN FEST: Saturday, Jan. 26, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; front plaza of James Brown Arena; music, dancing, arts and crafts and more; free

WESTERN-THEME VENDORS: Jan. 19-26, James Brown Arena; shop for Western clothing, riding equipment, jewelry, art and more; beginning Wednesday, Jan. 23-26; vendor fair will expand into adjacent Bell Auditorium for Western Expo

OFFICIAL CUTTING ACTION: Jan. 20-26, 8 a.m.; James Brown Arena


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