The Pulaski County Fair’s final event was a success Saturday evening as hundreds packed the arena area of the fairgrounds for the Hangin’ for 8 Extreme Bull Riding competition.
The Pulaski County Fair’s final event was a success Saturday evening as hundreds packed the arena area of the fairgrounds for the Hangin’ for 8 Extreme Bull Riding competition. A total of 21 riders attempted to hang onto raging bulls for eight seconds at a time for a chance at the prize money. Ultimately, 19-year-old Travis Smith of West Plains was declared the winner after two successful rounds. Smith, who has been riding bulls since he was 8, said he had been to the local fair to watch bull riding as a child, but this was his first time competing at the Pulaski Fair. He said he had a simple plan for success when he came out of the chute. “I just wanted to be gritty and bear down,” Smith explained. “I always have the mindset to win.” He completed eight second rides on both bulls he rode in the event, although he admitted the difference between the two rides was like night and day. “My first bull was pretty hard to ride, and then my second bull was just really solid,” he said. Smith added that he plans to use the money he won at the fair to continue traveling throughout the summer, attending more competitions. In addition to the riding, the competition included events for children and teens, including a “Calf Dressing” event, where teams put pajamas on a calf, and a “Calf Scramble,” where young children chased a small herd of calves in an attempt to find a red tail ribbon. A team of announcers kept the large crowd amused and entertained with jokes and dancing during the event, which ran late into the evening. Crowd members DJ Torres, Dee Dunham and Kiara Dunham didn’t mind the time, they said they attend the bull riding event every year. “I’ve been coming for six years now,” Torres said. “I just think it’s awesome.” “This is the crown jewel of the fair,” Dee added. Both women agreed this year’s competition was even better than last year, with a larger number of participants. “They’re all doing a really good job,” Dee said of the riders. “It’s a lot of fun.” The bull riding event concluded shortly before a huge storm with high winds and driving rain swept through the area, leading to the closure of the fair shortly before 11 p.m. The top four riders in the competition included Smith, Matt May in second place, Bronson Butcher in third and Denten Fugate in fourth.