Horse racing could soon take second place behind bull riding as the world’s greatest spectator sport.
Long considered the most dangerous sport participated in by man, bull riding is reaching new heights of popularity.
Certainly the Kansas Open Bull Riding Association (KOBRA) is attracting world renowned cowboys competing before bleacher crowds applauding with excitement.
“Interest and enthusiasm for our bull riding events have been overwhelming. Everybody from the community to the contestants to the spectators has been great,” exclaimed Cody Morris, organization brainchild.
Following a successful rodeo career as a bull rider and bareback bronc rider, Morris became demanded as a rodeo judge.
“I saw the vast interest in bull riding locally throughout the Midwest even nationally televised bull riding audiences,” Morris said.
Following that most apparent appeal, Morris and his wife Caitlan felt the need to develop a bull riding production company. ASR Productions was formed and named after their four children Aubrey, Stetson, Rhett and Rhyle.
A board of directors headed by Cody with Caitlan serving as secretary-treasurer guides KOBRA with recorded standings determining yearend winners.
“There’s a lot that goes into such an endeavor, more than it seems on the onset. We’ve definitely found that out,” Morris admitted.
“Putting together events likes this has been a lot of work, but we’ve loved it,” the enthusiastic coordinator continued. “KOBRA is the very best thing that could have happened to everybody involved in the spectacular sport of bull riding.”
Successfully underway last year, the organized bull riding events were negatively impacted by the coronavirus shutdown.
“We were all set to go, but couldn’t move forward with KOBRA events until the end of June,” Morris explained.
“The Mulvane Rodeo Arena has been instrumentally generous and cooperative in providing their facilities for events,” Morris appreciated. “We’ve had six events this year, with five at Mulvane, and the other one at Cedar Vale went well too.”
Additional bull riding events can qualify for KOBRA points toward yearend standings.
Sponsors have really come on board which helps attract the best contestants. “We’re fortunate for sponsorships allowing us to have added money from $1,500 up to $2,500 for each competition,” Morris credited.
Bucking bull owners soon saw appeal of the organized competitions becoming eager to contract their stock to KOBRA events. “We’ve had six contractors from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma bring their top bulls,” Morris said.
Top payback for riding outstanding bucking bulls quickly entices the best cowboys in the world. Many Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) contestants including National Finals Rodeo qualifiers and Professional Bull Riders champions are KOBRA competitors.
Cowboys pay $75 to enter with 90 percent of fees paid back to top riders in addition to the added prize money.
There is a long go-round for all entries with the top ten in the short go-round. Champion is determined from the top point earner in two rides. Prize money is also paid to other point earners down the line depending on the number of entries.
“We had 45 entries in our first event during June so the winner took home $1,800 plus a trophy buckle,” Morris said.
Future of the sport of rodeo and bull riding is of utmost importance to Morris. “Every event has also included a youth mutton busting competition which has proven extremely popular,” he said.
Thirty youngsters seven years and under weighing no more than 60 pounds pay an entry fee of $25 each.
“There are some top young riders who have the potential to be rodeo champions when they grow up,” Morris said. “The top sheep rider at a recent event won $155 plus a buckle which means more than the money.”
Several KOBRA competitions are coming up soon at the Mulvane Rodeo Arena. “We’ll have $1,500 added money for bull riders August 29th, and $2,000 is being added for September 5th,” Morris informed.
“Both days will also include mutton busting for the kids, with payback and of course a champion buckle.” he added.
“We’re expecting several of the best professional bull riders for the competitions,” Morris assured. “There’ll also be a number of local up-and-comers with a world of potential and other bull riders from several states.
ASR Productions also has the Kevin B. Adkins and Max Henderson Memorial bull riding and mutton busting planned September 19th, at 7 o’clock. Added purse for the bull riding is $2,500, with the mutton busting having $250 added money.
“Tawna Goforth from Nashville will entertain live in concert at this special event in memory of our two rodeo friends,” Morris added. “Please join us for a great night remembering two cowboys who will never be forgotten.
“Bull riding continues to increase in popularity on all levels,” Morris said. “Our family through ASR Productions and the Kansas Open Bull Riding Association is able to help the sport grow.”
Landing wasn’t soft for Devin Hutchinson of Emporia when he competed in a recent KOBRA (Kansas Open Bull Riding Association) event. “KOBRA is the best thing Kansas has had for a bull riding association in years,” Hutchinson said. “It is well organized and so much work has been put into it. They’re pulling cowboys top 35 in the world Brazilians, Okies, Texans, all over.” Garrion Hull of Wichita was shy the eight-second whistle on the $500 bounty bull 643 Home Wrecker but marked 157-points on two bulls to win the recent Kansas Open Bull Riding Association (KOBRA) event sponsored by ARS Productions at Mulvane. The championship moved Hull from 11th to third in the KOBRA standings. Youth sheep riding competitions known as mutton busting are featured at Kansas Open Bull Riding Association (KOBRA) events coordinated by Cody and Caitlan Morris. Brayden Valle, Kingman, was presented a check and championship buckle for being winner of a recent mutton busting in conjunction with a KOBRA event at Mulvane. (Jeff Frazell photos)