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Professional Bull Riders event comes to Dickinson

For the first time ever, Dickinson will host a Professional Bull Riders event.

The people of southwest North Dakota have been treated to bull riding in the past but never witnessed the caliber of a PBR event, until now.

On Saturday, Aug. 31, H & H Productions is bringing 35 bull riders to southwest North Dakota to compete at the Stark County Fairgrounds.

"(I'm) going out on a limb, basically taking a chance you might want to call it. The production itself is going to be probably a lot of money, more money than any production I ever did," Nate Hofer said. "But, that being said, I think I got the right partners on board. It's booked; there's no turning back now. We're gonna make it or break it with it."

Hofer wants this to be more than just a bull riding event, though. He wants it to be a full-on spectacle.

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With that in mind, there will be a calcutta Friday night for the 35 riders at Phat Fish Brewing. There will be a second calcutta at the fairgrounds ahead of the short go on Saturday. On Saturday morning, Hofer, some riders and maybe even a few bulls will appear at Red Rock Ford, where fans can get autographs.

After a winner is determined, the crowd can find its way back to Phat Fish Brewing where there will be an after-party with a dance.

"Most bull riders I know like to party, so they'll probably be down there partying," Hofer said.

Fans who purchase VIP tickets can mingle with the riders ahead of the event itself, while also enjoying a five-course meal and free alcohol. Limited VIP tickets will be sold.

For everyone else, there will still be a full line of concessions and alcohol for sale.

The riders will cling on to bulls from Chad Berger Bucking Bulls, out of Mandan. Berger is an eight-time recipient of the stock contractor of the year award, winning most recently in 2018.

Upon some of the best bulls in the country will be some of the best riders. Hofer said he expects the Lockwood brothers to be in attendance. Jess Lockwood is ranked No. 4 with 2,783 points and three event wins. Meanwhile, Jake Lockwood cracks the top 50 among PBR riders.

Also potentially attending is Stetson Lawrence, who hails from Williston and sits in 14th in the PBR standings.

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While a PBR event in Dickinson brings high-level talent to a crowd that's rarely privy to it, the competition allows young riders and even young bulls to get some work in at a lesser-known location that provides a smaller stage with less pressure.

"What's happening in the bull riding world, the lower-end events are all disappearing and the bulls are all getting better and bigger and badder. Basically, the bull riders are dying out," Hofer said. "They don't get a chance to practice and get confidence at these lower-end events. They go to these professional events and they get cow killed and they don't give themselves time to learn and develop into really good bull riders."

If interested in sponsorships or purchasing tickets, contact Nate Hofer at handhfencing@yahoo.com or 406-861-6452.

"If we're successful, this is gonna become an annual event," Hofer said. "We'll just go higher and bigger and better every year."

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