McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

November 15, 2013

Bullish plans: Pro bull riders make 2-day stop in Enid

ENID, Okla. — The 2013 Enid Professional Bull Riders Challenge has a chance to run like a well-oiled machine.

Plenty of preparation went into this weekend’s PBR-sanctioned tour stop. Like any show organized by Diamond Cross Rodeo Promoter Wesley McManus, planning started six to 12 months out with activity and adrenaline building until the last gate opens tonight.  The 2013 Enid PBR Challenge, will be 7:30 tonight at Enid Event Center. Tickets start at $25. To purchase tickets, call 855-TIX-ENID, or go to EnidEventCenter.com.

McManus and partner Dale Mitschke direct the proceedings from the top down. Rob Smets, a veteran rodeo performer, is at the microphone as live announcer.

And Chris Hammack will retire tonight, ending a long career as a professional bullfighter.

Getting ready

For McManus, the first challenge was figuring out how to hold a rodeo inside the brand new Enid Event Center.

“It’s kind of like putting a puzzle together,” McManus said as the hours ticked down to go-time Friday. “First of all, we’re bringing dirt into a place that’s not supposed to have dirt.”

The building’s not the typical rodeo grounds, so the hired hands had to make sure they brought in the dirt, panels and bucking chutes safely — and without damaging anything.

He also had to find the bulls. There will be five stock contractors providing tons of angry beef for the cowboys to ride.

If the show goes well, the months of planning pays off. It only got busier for him as time went on.

“The bull riding’s easy,” he said. “It’s the pre-game and getting everybody in order to do that.”

A little before the first ride, McManus held a production meeting to nail down, in detail, each moment of the show to keep it down to about two and a half hours.

“We want to keep the audience on the edge of their seat so when they leave here, they’re talking about it at the coffee shop for the next day and the next year when we come back,” he said.

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