Bear River freshman ready for bull riding |

Bear River freshman ready for bull riding

More than 50 young bullriders from around California, Nevada and Oregon will compete Saturday in the fourth annual Keith Wilson Memorial bull riding on Saturday morning in Penn Valley.

The event, being held along with the 49th annual Penn Valley Rodeo, starts at 9 a.m. at the Penn Valley Rodeo Grounds.

Competitors will range from 3 to 19 years of age.

“They’re coming from all over California, as well as Nevada and Oregon,” event coordinator Scott Gomes said. “We’ve got mutton busters, calf riders, steer riders, pee wee bulls, all the way to 19-year-olds who are riding the pro show.”

Among the top locals will be 15-year-old Bear River High School freshman Cody McClure, who has already seen considerable success in 2006. He finished as the reserve champion behind Dillon Everts on Lincoln for the California District 3 season and is currently fifth in the Northern California Bull Riders Association (NCBRA) junior standings.

“I’ve having a pretty good year,” said McClure, who only took up bull riding a year ago.

So, why did he decide to ride on the back of 2,000-pound bulls?

“It’s fun,” he replied, adding that his goal is to earn a trip to Shawnee, Okla., for the national finals later this year (the California state finals will be held on Sept. 23 in Penn Valley).

“I’m looking forward to this,” McClure said. “It’s kind of nice to rodeo here at home.”

Riding is a family affair because his younger brother, Connor McClure, ranks among the NCBRA calf riding leaders.

Sarah Bradley of Penryn leads the NCBRA senior standings and Jason Murray of Grass Valley leads the steer riding standings.

“It’s going to be a good show,” Gomes said. “It’s a lot of work. Countless hours go into putting this together, but all the work is well worth it.”

Go online to for information about the NCBRA.

Note: The event is named in memory of Keith Wilson, according to Gomes. Wilson, a local rider from Browns Valley, competed in high school but died in an automobile accident shortly after he made the jump to the PRCA and two days before the junior bull riding event in Penn Valley.

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