Bloody Nose. Tombstone. Onehorn Wonder.
As the names suggest, the 2,000-pound bulls that erupt out of the chutes of the Elite Professional Bullriders series offer anything but easygoing rides.
Some of the biggest and baddest bulls in America have a two-day showdown with some of the best up-and-coming cowboys in the West. The EPB is concluding its eighth season with a championship event over two days, Dec. 1 and Dec. 2, at Majestic Valley Arena along U.S. Highway 93.
“This will see who’s crowned the champion,” EPB promoter and producer Adam Libby, a Flathead Valley native, said.
The EPB has toured the West in recent months featuring top-notch bull riders and bulls competing at 20 events and seeking tops in the season standings. Now it’s down to two more days before the cash purse is divvied out.
“This is about the community and bringing a good event and building up these cowboys, and the excitement of riding a 2,000-pound bovine that’s job is to buck as hard as he can,” Libby said.
The scores will accumulate from both nights to decide the final standings with 30 rides each night.
The standings current feature a crop of talented riders, such as T’Jay Allen from Harlem, who is only a rookie but ranked No. 1 with a resounding 2,135 points. Parker Breding of Edgar, is ranked second with 1,375 points. Gerald Eash of Trego is ranked fourth with 775 points. Waylon Ladue of Browning is ranked fifth with 675 points. Kalispell’s Tyrell Toren, also a rookie, is in the mix as well. Columbia Falls’ Jacob Narducci and Polson’s Bridger Fitzpatrick have also competed in the EPB this season.
The EPB is a chance to showcase young rising stars in the world of bull riding, and familiar Montana standouts like Matt Triplett of Columbia Falls and Jess Lockwood of Volborg previously competed in the series. Triplett, 26, is now ranked 19th in the world and regularly stars on the PBR circuit.
“This is a stepping stone into the PBR,” Libby said of EPB.
Fans get to benefit from seeing courage under pressure among the lineup of rising stars, and Libby is excited for his hometown to enjoy the show.
“(Majestic Valley Arena) is one of the premier equine and western entertainment facilities in Montana,” he said. “It’s such a great community that loves bull riding.”
Bull Rider Profiles
Meet some of the riders who have competed in the EPB this season
2017 EPB Rookie of the Year
T’Jay is 19 years old and grew up on the Fort Belknap Reservation. He is Gros Ventre and Assiniboine. His rough stock career started at 4 years old riding sheep. He qualified to the Indian National Finals six times in the junior bulls and bull riding. This is his first season with Elite Professional Buillriders. And he is expecting his first born this January.
Parker is 24 years old and his hometown is Edgar, Montana. He has been riding bulls with Elite Professional Bullriders since they began in 2008. His accomplishments include twice winning the Montana High School state championship in bullriding and twice winning the PRCA Montana Circuit championship in bullriding.
Dalton is 22 years old and born and raised in Wellington, Utah. He has been riding bulls since he was 8 years old. He rides bulls because he loves it. He was a 2016 EPB Finals Event champion. He went to the Silver State International Rodeo in 2012, and then was the 2013 Utah high school bullriding reserve champion and NHSRA qualifier.
Tyrell is 18 years old and an EPB rookie from Kalispell. He comes from a rodeo family. His father rode bulls and bareback for 20 years and is the one who introduced Tyrell to the sport. He is proud to be a two-time National High School Finals Rodeo qualifier and a three-time NRA Finals qualifier.