Maybe an extra twist or a direction change will please the judges and get them closer to coming out ahead of the competition.
The cowboys in the spotlight at The Forum this weekend at the Three Rivers Invitational Bull Riding event wouldn’t mind the extra help.
Luke Kelly said the biggest thrill in riding bulls is winning.
“That feeling you get when you step off after a good ride is better than any high,” said Kelly, who has traveled from Mt. Vernon, Ill., to the Three Rivers Invitational each of its eight years.
He said the intimate space The Forum presents has its benefits, including building the relationship between the bull riders and the crowd.
“There is always a good crowd here,” Kelly said. “Without them coming out and supporting us, we couldn’t do what we do.”
Tonight’s action will begin at 8 p.m. with the doors opening at 6 p.m.
Roman Kevin Ellis, who is serving as the promoter for this weekend’s event after 27 years as a bullfighter, said that they look to put together a top quality event every year.
“Myself and Charlie Lowry with the 4L and Diamond S rodeo company are not from far out of town,” Ellis said. “We live right here and have quality livestock and invite the best cowboys.”
He said it doesn’t take much to convince the ones who come from out of state, including places like Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
“The bull riders want to come back and enjoy being here,” Ellis said.
“They brag about the community and how friendly everybody is, from the hotels to the restaurants. It means a lot to me because it makes me proud of my town and where I live,” Ellis said.
One of the few competitors who don’t have to travel far for the event is Jon Mastrangelo of Plainville.
“It’s always nice when you’ve got one like this right around the corner,” Mastrangelo said. “That usually doesn’t happen.”
The Marietta native discovered his love for bull riding while going to Berry College, where he graduated from in 2006 with a degree in business marketing.
Mastrangelo went to Berry on a soccer scholarship and played for the Vikings but found a listing on the Internet when he was a sophomore explaining how people could ride bulls at Lowry’s house in Summerville.
Three days later he took a turn, and was asked to go to a contest in Tennessee by a rider that was at the facility, and he started his career.
In the past year he’s been to rodeos in Dahlonega, Villa Rica and Swainsboro and qualified in two finals rodeos — one next weekend in Biloxi, Miss., and another the week after in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Friday night he drew a bull from a company out of Mississippi that Lowry had called up to help bring some other bulls to the event.
“He said that he would go out there and do a couple of good spins in front of the chute,” Mastrangelo said. “It should be really good. You know that you’re always going to get on a good bull when you come here.”