Rodeo Alaska kicks off competition with pro rodeo Memorial Day event

Fans showed up this Memorial Day weekend to fill the stands at the Alaska State Fairgrounds for Rodeo Alaska.
Published: May. 30, 2022 at 11:44 AM AKDT
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PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - Since Colleen Woodworth was six years old, she has loved going to rodeos.

“It’s just exciting. It gets your adrenaline going,” Woodworth said.

Now, 70 years since her first, watching the bull riding competitions remains one of her favorite activities, as she waits to see who can survive riding the massive animal.

“I love the bulls and the excitement of the bulls,” Woodworth said. “... I hope the cowboy makes it. I hope he doesn’t get hurt.”

Woodworth joined countless other fans this Memorial Day weekend who filled the stands Saturday at the Alaska State Fairgrounds for Rodeo Alaska. Rodeo lovers gathered both on Friday and Saturday to watch Alaska’s Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association “The Northern Most Xtreme Bulls Event In America”.

“All eyes are on 40 of the top bull riders in the world,” Frank Koloski, owner of Rodeo Alaska, said.

Riders came face to face with some top-ranked bulls from Canada, all holding on tight in pursuit of taking home the $25,000 prize. In the bleachers, fans sat on the edge of their seats, watching the show unfold.

“Your typical person watches the NFL, and I watch the PRCA,” James Cheatham said. Cheatham came out to enjoy the festivities at the fairgrounds.

It’s all part of the tense moments as they wait to see just how long their favorites can hold onto the bull.

“Everyone’s different,” Woodworth said. “Some of them will just stomp on you if you give them a chance.”

It was a way to give Alaskans a show as riders work to qualify for their version of the Super Bowl.

“The road to the finals rodeo in Las Vegas in December comes through Palmer, Alaska,” Koloski said. “That’s something to be said.”

Tyler Bingham, a three-time world finals qualifier, took home the win for the competition Saturday evening.

Championship rodeo activities will continue Sunday and Monday. Those interested can purchase event tickets on the Rodeo Alaska website, at Fred Meyers or the gates on the fairgrounds.

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