Great Rodeo is gearing up to return to the Paris Fairgrounds this weekend for its annual Extreme Bulls and Bikes Show on Saturday, July 15, 2023.
The Hamilton-based company will feature a host of events throughout the day including bull riding, barrel racing, bronc riding, motocross and more alongside Rawhide Rodeo.
Karen Lintner, coordinator of event logistics and media relations for Great Rodeo, said that bull riders in attendance at the Paris event will be competing to qualify for a spot in the International Professional Rodeo Finals.
“The Extreme Bulls and Bikes Show is a rodeo where the contestants come from all over North and South America, and they compete for titles like Best Bull Rider, Best Barrel Racer and Best Bronc Rider,” said Litner. “They are competing for the nationals and so there are people really from all over that are coming to seriously compete.”
Spectators will also get to watch some of the top Canadian motocross daredevils, including Brantford’s own motorcycling legend, Jordan Szoke and his extreme freestyle team.
“While the bulls are being prepared in the chutes and the horses are being tacked up (prepped to ride), we have an extreme bike show going on where they have their motocross bikes and they’re up in the air doing flips and adding all kinds of pizzaz,” said Lintner.
Gates will open at 11:00 a.m. and attendees are encouraged to show up before noon to grab their seats and food prior to the action starting at 12:30 p.m..
“We have food trucks coming out on site and Western Apparel selling hats and accessories for the kids, as well as 50/50 tickets and more,” said Lintner.
Proceeds from the event will go towards the Help a Child Smile charity. The organization provides support to more than 1500 families with children being treated for cancer at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton.
Litner noted that the charity helps to provide welcome packages that include gas cards, parking passes, meal vouchers and more in-hospital supports to families.
“Caring for a child with cancer is very expensive, some people have to quit their jobs, there are numbing creams and other costs not covered by OHIP, and even parking costs – they all add up,” she said.
The volunteer-run charity also covers the cost and organizes day trips for children and their families.
“There are many people who may not be able to provide their children with some of those experiences that kids get to have because everything is so costly,” she said. “So, the charity will also take children and their families to places like Bingemans, SkyZone Trampoline Park, African Lion Safari, Canada’s Wonderland, they’ll also do go-karting and mini-putting in Niagara, as well as family picnics and Christmas parties. Really, all the people and all the animals come together with this great show to help raise funds for the kids there at McMaster.”
Litner explained that for those who have never been to a rodeo before, to expect a thrilling experience.
“It’s the thrill and it’s the anticipation of waiting. When you see that motorbike and you see the size of the giant ramp as he starts revving up his engine and gets going, it’s like, ‘oh my gosh, is he gonna make this?’ And he goes and does a flip and then lands back down, its wild,” she said. “Same with the bull riders and the bronc riders! When you see that 2,000 pound bull getting ready to come out, you’re really on the edge of your seat.”