Rookie riders take on mechanical bull

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By Vicky Gits

Six hometown “celebrities” faced the fear of public humiliation and physical impairment to try their luck at riding a mechanical bull on the opening night of the 2009 Evergreen Rodeo on June 19.

Their combined efforts generated about $6,000 for the rodeo association coffers. It was a fitting attempt to warm up the crowd before the evening’s main event, the Evergreen debut of Professional Bull Riders tour.

“It’s a big hit. The celebrities love it. The audience loves it, and it generates a lot of money for the rodeo association. It’s harder than it looks,” said Gail Ridings, who organized the contest.

The mechanical beast clearly turned out to have the upper hoof as it went about its business. Fortunately, bumpy landings were cushioned by a huge vinyl air mattress. Judges consisted of two professional rodeo clowns.

Nevertheless, more time was spent on the bouncing behemoth than one would expect, given the rookies’ lack of experience. Times were at least eight seconds or longer, as orchestrated by the behind-the-scenes technician.

But at the Evergreen Rodeo Celebrity Buck-Off, it’s not all about length of time on the robotic bovine with a bad attitude.

For example, while bewigged in a green poodle hairdo, school resource officer Dee Patterson won the prize for best costume. She lasted only a couple of revolutions.

Little Bear owner Judy Jeronimus, wearing delightfully baggy chaps, got first place for raising the most money in pledges. Unofficially, she gets kudos for best vocals, punctuating each dip with an appropriate shriek of terror.

Overall winner was Ben Jackson, head of the Evergreen Country Day School, with 87 points. Of all the contestants, Jackson appeared to have the most professional, relaxed style, and it paid off with an impressive run and the most points.

Rick Egloff of the Tuscany Restaurant looked impressive in his leather vest and black hat, though his ride was worth 82 points, or 1 point better than Evergreen Realtor Tex Reel, who made a brave but short-circuited attempt.

Firefighter Dave Marshall, assistant chief in charge of training, pulled down a respectable 85 points. Mary DeBaets, financial planner with Evergreen Wealth Management, drew upon her experience as a young Westernaire to end with 82 points.

Contact Vicky Gits at 303-350-1042 or vicky@evergreenco.com.