‘The most extreme sport on dirt’: Live bull riding event returns to Lakeside

Sports

LAKESIDE, Calif. – The Bulls Only Rodeo is returning to Southern California to raise money for local school programs.

Put together by the Lakeside Optimist Club, organizers hope to sell out the Lakeside Rodeo Arena at 12584 Mapleview St. that fits about 5,500 people.

“In the case of El Capitan with budget cuts and everything else, unfortunately, money isn’t coming to the school districts like they used to,” Rodeo Chair Brent Woolsey said.

The event’s gone on for more than two decades and is ultimately put together by some 1,500 volunteers.

A former bull rider, Junior Sáenz describes it as “the most extreme sport on dirt.”

“It’s man vs. beast, so we go back to the Roman times kind of,” Saenz said. “Tigers and lions and gladiators. We are gladiators inside the arena because you never know what’s going to happen.

“It could be your last ride or it could be a great ride.”

With prize money on the line, it’s an event that draws in competitors from all over, even as far away as Quebec, Canada.

“It’s more than a piece of America; it’s Americana,” Saenz said. “You have the grandma, the aunt, the brother, everybody comes to this. It unites the whole community, which is the greatest thing for all rodeos.”

Tickets for the two-day event held Friday and Saturday starting at 7:30 p.m. are available online at bullsonlyrodeo.com. They are $22 for adults and $10 for children under age 12.

Donations also can be made to the Lakeside Optimist Club here.

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