‘You’re competing against the bull you’re riding, you’re not competing against them’: 40 Bull riders come to town for competition

Spokane Arena transforms into a bull-riding ring
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SPOKANE, Wash. — Scottie Knapp is one of the top bull riders in the world.

“I’ve had some success, you know, not quite where I want to be yet but I’ve been climbing my way up the ladder and working my way up to the top,” he said.

That goal is to be the world champion, by riding a bull for at least eight long seconds.

Knapp said he doesn’t have any tricks to staying on the animal for that long.

“Just clear your mind and go do it. Just do it. Do your job like anything else. Just got to stay focused,” he said.

Points are given to the rider based on how difficult the bull is to ride and how well the person can move with the bull.

Crews took all Friday turning the Spokane Arena into a bull riding ring for the Pendleton Whisky Velocity tour. It took about 30 dump trucks full of dirt to make it efficient for the bulls to be on and the riders to ride the animal.

“If you’ve been in here for a hockey game or a basketball game or a concert, you’re not going to recognize the building. Once we’re done with it, it’ll look completely different,” said Kevin McCoy, the tour operations manager.

The bulls get in on Saturday, in and out in one day. Forty competitors from across the nation will try and win some prize money, along with a title.

But Knapp said it’s not about competing with other people for him.

“You’re competing against the bull you’re riding, you’re not competing against them. It’s in the judges hands,” he said.

Thousands of people will be entertained watching the rider get whipped around, but it’s more than fun for the riders – it’s a lifestyle.

“We’re born and raised into this lifestyle as cowboys. We have integrity and things that the world’s missing, I think. There’s a lot to be learned from it,” he said.

Organizers for the tour said it will be jam-packed in the arena, a sight that Knapp enjoys.

“The bigger the crowd and louder it is, the more energy, we kind of feed off that and we like the screamin’, the whoopin’ and the hollerin’,” Knapp said. “It helps us perform better, really.”

The show starts at 6:45 p.m. With tickets starting at $17. To learn more, click here.