You could say Wes Ibrahimi is bullish on Modesto.
The former bull rider and current promoter always has felt Stanislaus County’s largest city could play host to a top-flight rodeo or bull riding event.
The problem was finding a proper venue.
Enter Modesto Junior College’s Agriculture Center for Education Pavilion. The building along Highway 99 at MJC’s West Campus, which opened a few years ago, offers easy access and is enclosed and heated.
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So it was an easy decision for Ibrahimi to bring Live Action Bullriding back to the facility for a second straight year.
The event, which features some of the West Coast’s top and up-and-coming bull riders and top-flight bulls, is Saturday at 6 p.m. About 40 bull riders are expected to compete.
“We travel and do a lot of events in a lot of towns up and down the West Coast,” said Ibrahimi, whose family owns Le Grand-based Humpz and Hornz. Its 50 bulls are used in roughly 30 events a year. “We always wanted to do something in Modesto because Modesto is prime for this type of event. We just never really had a location until they built that ag building. It’s perfect. It’s right next to Highway 99, it’s covered and it’s warm.
“It’s hard to find buildings to do these types of events this time of year.”
Among the top bull riders scheduled to appear are Keith Roquemore of Cottonwood, Bobby Roberts of Visalia, Ricky Hallam of Norco, and Derek McCormack of Covelo. All have competed on the Colorado-based Professional Bull Riders circuit. There also will be several up-and-coming riders from the West Coast.
“You’ll get some guys right on the bubble from moving up to the professional tour and some guys just starting out,” Ibrahimi said.
He said the “bull-power” will be phenomenal, adding that some of the four-legged talent will be provided by Sis’s Bucking Bulls.
Ibrahimi, a 1985 Merced High graduate, said the ag center venue also provides spectators with an up-close view of what he says is the world’s most dangerous sport.
He said spectators naturally don’t want to see anyone get injured, but admitted many watch the sport for the same reasons some watch auto racing.
“They enjoy seeing the wrecks and the danger,” he said.
He’s hoping to build on the success of last year’s event, which nearly sold-out the 1,200-seat venue.
“There’s a lot of energy in an indoor building,” he said. “There’s not a bad seat in the house.”