Cowboys will have eight seconds to keep themselves upright on a spinning, bucking, angry bull at the Outdoor Arena at the Clay County Fair. The CCF Bull Riding Challenge is put on by Barnes Rodeo and is free with gate admission to the fair. Photo Submitted

Bull riding is back in action at the Clay County Fair

Man versus beast will be featured in the Outdoor Arena at the Clay County Fair at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8 in Spencer.

Clay County Fair manager Jeremy Parsons said bull riding is wildly popular at the fair. The Outdoor Arena has a capacity of 2,000 spectators and Parsons thinks the event will be filled to capacity.

“I promise you can’t go anywhere and see a professional bull riding event for free,” he said. “When you pay general admission at the fair gate you will not have to pay extra for a separate ticket.”

Portable bull chutes and a smaller arena will be provided for the event.

“When the bulls are released they are not just going to let someone ride them for eight seconds,” Parsons said. “The smaller arena makes better viewing for the spectators.”

Barnes Rodeo of Peterson will supply the beasts for the eight-second showdowns.

Barnes Rodeo owner Marty Barnes said he is bringing some challenging bulls.

“We have a couple bulls that were nominated for the National Final Rodeos last year, Centrifuge and Rafael’s Red Chain,” Barnes said. “They are nominated based on their history of how they buck all year.”

Rafael’s Red Chain has been ridden eight times in 2019 and bucked off five of the riders, according to Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association statistics from Prorodeo.com. Centrifuge also has been in the arena eight times and thrown three riders.

Some Barnes Rodeo bulls will make their debut at the Clay County Fair.

“We have not even named them yet, but they show a lot of promise,” Barnes said.

In bull riding a rider has to stay on an angry, bucking and spinning bull for eight seconds. One of the rider’s hands grips a rope and the other is held above his head. If the free hand touches the bull in the eight seconds the ride does not qualify for a score. If the rider is thrown off before the eight-second notification, the ride does not qualify for a score.

Barnes said a bull rider’s score is divided in half; one half is how well the rider performs and the other half is a testament to the performance of the bull.

Barnes said there may not be bull riders from the pro circuit making an appearance as the prize money is only $1,500. However, the entry fee for participation is $50, which is put into a pool and a percentage given to the top three scorers.