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Bulls stampede back into Mountains Center

Popular event could be riding for final time at Mountains Center

POSTED: January 5, 2012 12:30 a.m.
SARA GUEVARA /The Times

The annual Southeastern Championship Bull Riding returns Saturday at the Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville.

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Grab your hats and put on your boots because it's time for bull riding in Gainesville.

The Southeastern Championship Bull Riding returns to the Georgia Mountains Center this weekend for an 18th year.

Southeastern Championship Bull Riding promoter and clown Bryan Hope said the organization is excited to return.

"We've had a great turnout in the past, and I think this is something that the people around Gainesville really look forward to," Hope said.

Hope said organizers plan to buck about 30 bulls per day, with a champion crowned each day.

Champions are decided through a 100-point scoring system, with a possible 50 points available to the rider and 50 for the bull. The idea is that riders want to get a tougher bull, increasing the points and the excitement, Hope said.

There will be opportunities for the crowd to get involved. Drawings will be held for a ticket upgrade, and the winner will be ushered into the arena to watch the action from the back of a truck.

Additionally, Hope said there will be a money scramble game where a thousand coins are tossed out and a fan gets 30 seconds to collect as many as possible.

"We have a great time. It's family fun for everyone. I've seen kids from 5 years old to 92 years old," Hope said.

This year could very well be the last stand for the event at the Mountains Center. The future of the venue is uncertain as Gainesville considers leasing the property to Brenau University.

"It looks like it's going to the last one we have at the Mountains Center," Hope said. "It's a bitter pill to swallow, for all of us, for both our association and for the community."

Hope said that whatever the case may be, the Southeastern Championship Bull Riding group would like to return to North Georgia. He said the association will consider looking into other venues, but for now is focusing on putting on a spectacular show this weekend.

The bull riding championship will take place at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and conclude at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Advance tickets are $20 for adults and $22 the day of the show. Ages 12 and under can get in for $10. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Mountains Center at 770-534-8420 or visiting its online box office.



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