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World champs compete at bull ride, rodeo

Tasha Welsh, a professional barrel racer from Texas, rounds the first corner at the Headwaters PRCA Rodeo.1 / 4
Jace Blackwell of South Dakota earned 72 points for his saddle bronc ride. (Photos by Shannon Geisen/Enterprise)2 / 4
The Park Rapids Star of the North U.S. Marine Corps League Honor Guard led the opening flag ceremony at the rodeo. Flag rider is Courtney Pilkey of Park Rapids.3 / 4
Calf roping was among the full slate of rodeo action July 6-7. Tyler Milligan of Pawhuska, Okla. ties down his calf with a 12-second run and 3-second roping.4 / 4

The dust has cleared, and the cowboys and cowgirls have headed home.

The Headwaters Xtreme Bulls and Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Rodeo came to a close Saturday, after a four-day celebration of its 40th anniversary.

The Xtreme Bulls event featured 40 new competitors each night.

Four-time world champion Sage Kimzey was bucked off in the finals of the Xtreme Bulls Thursday night.

Event producer Randy Jokela said numerous people asked him, "How did you get Sage Kimzey to Park Rapids? Because everybody knows that name. Truthfully, he's probably the best bull rider anywhere."

"Since he got into the National Finals four years ago, he has won the world title four years in a row," Jokela explained. "But here, in the Xtreme Bulls, he got second. We bucked him off, which is incredible. What that means is, that's how good our bulls are here."

Brett Custer, who just turned professional last year, went on to win Xtreme Bulls. He's the son of retired world champion Cody Custer.

"He's a baby yet. That's what's incredible," Jokela said. "Cody Custer won Park Rapids 20 years ago, and he became a world champion."

There were were a few broken bones, according to Jokela. A 1,500-pound bull landed on one of the riders, shattering his ankle. "The danger is to be stepped on rather than gored," he said.

Friday and Saturday saw a full slate of rodeo action — from bareback, saddle bronc and steer wrestling to calf roping, barrel racing, team roping and bull riding.

Hadley DeShazo was named All-Around Cowboy.

Chuck Schmidt outcompeted world champion Wade Sundell in saddle bronc riding.

Trey Kimzey, a younger brother of Sage, won the PRCA Rodeo bull ride.

When Jokela doubled the prize money, the number of contestants doubled, he said. Entries jumped from 140 last year to more than 300 this year. To accommodate all the action, a free overflow performance was held Saturday morning at the Jokela ProWest grounds.

The crowds were great, Jokela added. "One thing the contestants all tell me: They said, 'We love riding in Park Rapids because the fans are so enthusiastic.' They know rodeo has been here so long."

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