Rodeo stampedes to Salem, drawing in over 200 riders - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Rodeo stampedes to Salem, drawing in over 200 riders

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The 47th annual Stampede Rodeo is underway at the Salem Civic Center.

The bulls are riled up and raring to go as the Stampede Rodeo finishes up final preparations for the big show.

     Producer Bobby Rowe has been with this rodeo from the beginning; 47 years ago and Salem Civic Center is a part of its long history.

"It was Loretta Lynn’s Rodeo then at that time. They had a few rodeos and then I went to work for them. This was one of our first indoor building Rodeo's right here," Rowe said.

Rowe says that first night was one of the coldest rodeos he remembers. But they aren’t worried about the weather this year.

Thousands are expected to come as organizers say ticket sales are higher than last years.

As the 1966 world champion bull rider --Rowe's got some advice under that cowboy hat he gives to every rider before they jump on one of the massive bulls.

"Get all of your puking, praying and peeing out before you got to the shoot and when you get in there be ready to nod your head and get out,” Rowe said.

It may not be eloquent, but it’s trusted advice that gets down to the point.

It's a unique event that draws in the thousands every year it comes to Salem. Kevin Debusk says the sports’ popularity continues to grow.

"Bull riding is an adrenaline sport and it’s grown over the years. Popularity comes from PBR and events like that."

Besides even the sport itself, the civic center's transformation is alone pretty impressive. It’s taken the rodeo two days to completely transform this arena as they fill it 10 inches high full of dirt."

"What’s unique though is they can even have this whole arena cleared out in about six hours. That includes the dirt and all," Debusk said.

     For these guys - the massive set up is easy. The real challenge will be eight seconds on one those horned bulls for the more than two hundred who will try.

This year three local men will take their turn. Caleb Corvin from Fincastle, Kody Kiser from Hardy and Joshua Wright of Elliston will all be there competing Friday night. Show starts at 7:30 p.m.

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