Ridin' High

Think of it as a Western smackdown. Top-ranked bareback, saddle bronc and bull riders, plus rodeo's best barrel racers, compete in rodeo's most thrilling events at Bucking Thunder, Friday, October 10, and Saturday, October 11, at Rawhide in Scottsdale.

While bronc riders and barrel racers get a kick out of the prize money, bull riders also accumulate points for the season. National Finals Rodeo saddle bronc veteran Rod Warren reveals why he travels all the way from Alberta, Canada, to compete in Bucking Thunder: "I went last year, and it was a first-class production," he says. "It's a good tune-up for me; I've been out of rodeoing for several weeks." Warren also appreciates the quality of the animals. "Ike Sankey supplies the stock. He has one of the best bucking horse strings in North America, so the chances of me drawing a good horse are excellent." And Warren knows it pays to keep in shape -- he just won the $50,000 bonus event at the Calgary Stampede.

During rodeo intermission, the Mounted Shooters of America execute daredevil stunts, and everybody's favorites, the rodeo clowns, cut up for the crowd.

After the arena dust settles on Friday night, catch KNIX DJs Tim and Willy and the All Earl Band a-playin' at the Bucking Thunder Bash. On Saturday night, stay for the Bucking Thunder Blowout starring World Champ Bareback Bronc Rider turned world-class country star Chris LeDoux. Rodeo action starts at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

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Kim Toms