Good Sports: Underground Rodeo

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Every year the Clovis Rodeo showcases some of the best bull riders in California. But while that rodeo only happens for one week in April, there's one rodeo in Fresno going every week.

Every Thursday at the end of Rice Road (near Friant Road), a three dollar entrance fee will get you a front row seat to a way of life.

The rodeo has run more or less every week for the last 55 years at Toro Bravo Arena. Still, it's somewhat of an underground rodeo with fans only knowing about it from Facebook or word of mouth.

Riders call up Tara Brown just days, or even hours, before the 7:00 PM start time asking to get on a bull. "My dad's name is Jerry Brown, and they're like 'the governor?" Tara said. "They're like 'Are you guys that little place by the river down off the dump' and I'm like 'yeah that's us."

Tara says riders cycle through every two years. From professionals looking to get in a practice run, to up and comers hoping to make it in the sport. The week before our shoot a bachelor party even came out to ride.

"Then you see the guys who want to be bull riders because they want to say they're a bull rider to a girl or somebody," Tara said.

From spurs and bootstraps, to chaps and cowboy hats, rodeo culture is on full display. The PA announcer is a former bull rider who says it's rewarding to now give back.

"Sure it is, get to relive the past, watch these young cowboys grow to be bull riders," said Ken "Tex" Jennings. "You bet it is. I live for this place."

The baseball equivalent of this level of riding might be a mix between independent ball and beer league softball. But for eight seconds, riders can still "one of the greatest feelings in the world."

Something that'll continue every Thursday night, less than half a mile from Fresno's suburbia.
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