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Labor Day Bull Riding draws big crowds at the Minnesota State Fair

Read more about the Labor Day bull riding and PRCA rodeo that drew huge crowds at the Minnesota State Fair over the weekend!

The Bulls and Barrels Championship doubled the excitement for attendees at the Minnesota State Fair with two performances on Labor Day.  Marty Barnes, owner of Barnes PRCA Rodeo Company which produced the bull riding said, “We had great crowds, terrific match-ups, saw some high scores. Everyone is excited about next year.”  
The final day of the Minnesota State Fair attendance was 171,299 nearly 13,000 ahead of Labor Day the previous year.  The overall 12-day Minnesota State Fair set a new attendance record of 1,997,320.
Thousands of fairgoers packed the coliseum stands to watch cowboys and cowgirls compete for cash and trophy buckles.  The field of contestants was limited to 30 bull riders and 12 barrel racers in each go-round. ” The Minnesota State Fair known as The Great Minnesota Get-Together has a global reach.  That could be seen by the different states and continents our contestants represented this year,” added Barnes.
Minnesota cowboy Levi Berends thrilled the audience in the historic hippodrome scoring two 85 point rides. Barrel Racer Tammy Kowaiski also won both go-rounds with her 14.84 and 14.62 second runs.  Berends and Kowaiski were awarded custom belt buckles by the Minnesota State Fair based on the average standings.  
Mark Goodrich, Deputy General Manager of Competitive and Agricultural Events of the Minnesota State Fair is pleased with the crowd’s reaction and satisfied with the high quality of bulls and contestants.  “It was an extremely captivated crowd. We’ve had numerous positive comments already turned into the fair office, and Marty delivered yet another stellar event. We really value the long standing partnership we’ve had with the Barnes Rodeo Company for many decades,” acknowledged Goodrich.
Twenty-six-year old Berends admits he likes competing at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.  Considering he won the Minnesota Horse Expo & PRCA Rodeo in the same arena with an 88 point ride on Barnes’ bull #16 Butter Biscuit this past April, there is no question it’s his turf.  However, he credits the fans for helping him out, “there is a lot of people there cheering, and I get pumped for it.  It’s my home state, and I always ride better here.”  
The Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum reached near capacity crowds for both performances at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on September 4, 2017.  First round winners behind Berends 85.5 points were Travis Smith from West Plains, Missouri with 84.5; Gumby Wren from Sidney, Iowa with 82.5; Skyler Sims from Peculiar, Missouri with 82; Will Crain from  Farina, Illinois with 82 and Amos Yoder from Waverly, Iowa with his 81 point ride.  
Barnes noted that “Levi Berends is really hitting his stride at the end of the Great Lakes Circuit season.  He drew S339 which had his best trip of the year, even better than the one he had at Buffalo, Minnesota back in June.”  Barnes bought the down-horn red bull from South Dakota breeder Randy Shippy last year.  “We really like the bull that he is turning into,” continued Barnes.
The second go-round winners behind Berends 85 points ride on #S339 Special Fair were: John Young from Orient, Iowa with 84.5 on #16 Butter Biscuit; Sims with 84 on #107 Hilton Magic; Crain 83.5 on #101 Rick Flare; Daniel Lambright from New Providence, Iowa on #221 Ralco’s Centrifuge with 82 points and Yoder on #120 Ada Been 90 for 82 points.
The Minnesota State Fair was the pinnacle event for several contestants over the holiday weekend. Cowboys and cowgirls were pushing hard to collect paychecks, operating on little sleep, driving hundreds of miles and competing despite injuries.  Blake Dunsmore and Amauri Alves competed regardless of back, groin and hip injuries sustained earlier in the season.  
“It’s really impressive, and these guys are getting on their fourth and fifth bull in three days. It goes to the results that the guys are taking care of themselves physically and mentally and fine tuning their art of bull riding,” stated Barnes.
According to Barnes his bull #250 Killebrew named after Minnesota Twins player Harmon Killebrew,  was electric and probably had one of his best trips of the year at the Minnesota State Fair.
Barnes recognized that “Butter Biscuit had a nice trip and John made a good ride turning it into an 84.5 point score. I appreciate John when he comes to our different events because he’s a top talent,  takes care of business in a professional manner, and also helps positively encourage his fellow contestants.”
The barrel racing results first go-round leader was Tammy Kowaiski  14.84; Hailey Sheldon 14.86; Lori Coyle 15.20 and Camille Johnson 15.26.  The second go-round results included a repeat win by Tammy Kowaiski  14.62; Kassie Green 14.93; Camille Jacobson 14.94 and Emily Rothstein 15.10
To learn more about Barnes PRCA Rodeo and their schedule check out, on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter #BarnesPRCARodeo.  The Buffalo Championship ProRodeo is the oldest and continuous professional rodeo in Minnesota and will celebrate its 64th anniversary on June 22 and 23, 2018

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Gretchen Kirchmann is a veteran journalist covering a variety of events across the country each year. She founded Kirchmann Media Group in 2009 and works as a marketing consultant with a forte for the western lifestyle industry, festivals, fairs and rodeo world. Her work includes 15 national communication awards plus coverage of Nashville's CMT Awards and CMA Fanfest. A favorite assignment was attending the all cast reunion of the Dukes of Hazard in 2006 and 2007 at Dukesfest. In December you will find her covering the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and Miss Rodeo America pageant live from Las Vegas. Her favorite color is orange, favorite song "Rocky Top" and she loves to dance especially clogging.

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