One of Eckville’s premier annual events made a comeback, when Bullarena returned to the Eckville Arena on May 13. The event welcomed some of the best bull riders to town to compete against one another, to help raise funds for the Eckville Arena.
“It has been around for 19 years now and it started as a fundraising event for the arena in this community,” Erin Dyrland, secretary of Eckville Arena Board, said. “It is put on by volunteers from the arena board and the community. All the proceeds go back into arena operations to keep costs low for members, kids and their families.”
The event was preceded by the Municipal Breakfast – which took place in the morning – and was followed by the Cabaret – which welcomed the band Black Water Crude back, for the second straight year.
“Everybody enjoys it and there is always a good crowd,” Dyrland said. “There are tonnes of local sponsors, so that is great to have them. We really appreciate it, and some of them have been around for years.”
The quality of bull riders is always the biggest draw of the event, according to Dyrland, and this year’s event featured competitors from around the world.
“Yeah, this year had quite a few good ones – nine in the long go and two in the short go. It was really good this year, so that was good to see,” she said.
While final numbers haven’t been tabulated on how much was raised – Dyrland said that early counts show the Bullarena was a success once again
“It went good, we didn’t have any issues and everyone was having a good time. It worked out well,” she said.
Following the bull riding, visitors to the arena had the opportunity to dance and be merry at the Cabaret. It was also the first time the arena was able to use its new year-round liquor licence, which went “very well” according to Dyrland.
“It was good as ever,” she said. “The band, Black Water Crude, was really good – it was the second year we had them. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.”
While some routine and necessary changes are made, the success of Bullarena is dependent upon remembering the fun times of years past, according to Dyrland.
“We hope the people remember the previous years and how fun it is, and come back,” she said. “We try to put on a good event and all the volunteers put a lot of effort into it. Nothing changes drastically year-to-year. Everyone knows what they are doing and pitch in where they can.”
Dyrland stressed that Bullarena is truly the work of volunteer hours.
“The arena is a part of the Eckville Ag Society – which includes the arena, the curling rink and the hall,” she said. “We have members from each of those groups that come out and help. It is always good to have a lot of local help. Thank you to all our sponsors, volunteers and everyone who came out”