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Bulls, Broncs and Barrels event is Friday, Saturday

Barrel racers warm up prior to qualifying for the barrel race event Friday, Feb. 1 in Verndale. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

The 15th annual Bulls, Broncs and Barrels event is this Friday and Saturday at the R & J Event Center in Verndale. Gates open at 5 p.m. with show starting at 7 p.m. both nights.

The event includes 35-40 bull riders, 7-10 saddle broncs and 10 barrel racers each night, according to R & J Horse Sales owner Ron Sundby. Expect comedic entertainment by "Backflip" Johnny Dudley and live bands Trip Wire (Friday) and October Road (Saturday) performing following the rodeo.

Looking back over the last 15 years, R & J Arena owner Ron Sundby said the growth has been exciting to watch.

"It's been a real nice event," he said.

Sundby said the event takes a certain number of riders and it seems to fill up quickly each year.

To be a part of the barrel race show each night some 50-70 barrel racers are whittled down to just 10 each day during a slack competition.

Each night, a large crowd typically attends, which is not unusual for events at the horse arena, which seems to be the biggest draw to Verndale as it has events lined up for most weekends throughout 2019.

It was 10 years ago that a horse barn at R & J Horse Sales burned down taking 40 show horses with it. It was a tragic day for the business and for the many horse owners.

Since then, the business has seen great growth, evolving into the R & J Arena; R & J Horse Sales Inc.; A Bit of Tack, which sells horse related merchandise and; next door, Sundby's Trailer Sales, all of which are under the Sundby Enterprises umbrella. That growth is still happening as an addition was recently added to the Sundby Trailer Sales office. Finish work on that project is underway.

Sundby said folks from all over the state and outside the state regularly visit the arena for shows and sales. If a rodeo is not your style you don't have to look far to take in another event including an upcoming indoor trailer sale, horse sale, pleasure shows and more.