NORMAN — Rodeo fans stampeded to Noble Arena Friday night to see cowboys from all over the state compete in bull riding, calf roping and barrel racing at the Noble Open Rodeo.
The uniqueness of the 30-plus year event lies in the fact that it is open to anyone who wishes to ride, but according to stock contractor Jamie Dees, generally more experienced cowboys come to compete in the event.
“You’ll see the best in the business,” Dees said. “There are more great cowboys in Oklahoma than anywhere in the nation, so you are gonna see a lot of experience in the arena tonight.”
But it’s not just an event to hone the skills of the rider, Dees says it just as much about the fans.
“It takes you back in time,” Dees said. “You’re gonna see some great cowboys from local ranches, so it’s pretty exciting to watch and the crowd just love it.”
In the events, cowboys like bull rider Jeremy Barnhill, who’s been riding every weekend for three years, ride for cash prizes.
“I’m here to ride my bull, but I’m also hoping to make a little bit of money,” Barnhill said.
But there is another part that drives the cowboy to strap himself to a 2,000 pound bull.
“It’s exciting, and a just intense” Barnhill said. “I don’t know any other way to describe it. You have to be real in control of yourself to be able to do it.”
“ The idea is is to not worry about anything, the arena, the bulls or the crowd,” Barnhill said. “You just have to show up here and do your job.”
But despite all of this, Jamie Dees says the two-day event is just business as usual for the cowboys.
“This is what we do week in and week out,” Dees said. “We rodeo”
The rodeo kicks off again tonight at 8 p.m. at the Noble Arena, with tickets starting at $8 for children 6 to 12 years and $10 for adults.
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