Author Sarah M. Anderson once said, “Bull riding was many things, but ‘quiet’ wasn’t one of them.”
Neither is bull hosting, as the Grand Island Convention and Visitors Bureau is discovering. Social media word is spreading about a taxidermy bull bucking and kicking up its hind legs in a precarious-looking position holding court in their Railside office space.
The point of having a bull at the visitors bureau isn’t just a bunch of, well, bull. It’s a promotion for Rodeo Grand Island, coming to Heartland Events Center at Fonner Park in late February.
Brad Mellema, Grand Island Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director, said, “We’ve supported the rodeo because we like to bring events the town that bring people to town, and they’re certainly that. You get fans that really follow it and are into it and know the players and who the stars are, and then others will come because it’s entertaining. It’s music, it’s lights, it’s people flying through the air and all that cool stuff. Rodeo is a great thing to just go as a one-off, or for the people that really follow the sport.”
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The bull is a loaner from Sutton Rodeo in South Dakota, who is the company behind the upcoming event.
“They brought up that they have this and we said, ‘Well, if you get it down here, we’ll find places to put it,’” Mellema said. “For now he’s here, but he is going to travel around.”
It took a stock trailer and four people to get the bull with no name through the bureau’s doors into the office, located at the corner of Third Street and North Locust. Mellema said bringing the bull to its temporary home was quite a spectacle.
“When we were loading it from the street to bring it in here, people (from the business across the street) were all at the window, watching. They came right over and said, ‘What are you doing?’”
Now that things are settled, the bull’s front hooves solidly mounted into a faux-dirt base, the convention and visitors bureau is encouraging people to stop by and take a selfie with the new occupant. He won’t be there in perpetuity, however.
Mellema said, “We’d like to get it to another location, maybe one of the other rodeo sponsors or Heartland Events Center. We just want people to see it. We’ll put it on social media as to where he goes next.”
In the meantime, the bucking taxidermy bull is going to be available for photo opportunities and fodder for plenty of puns – again, that’s no bull.
Jessica Votipka is the education reporter at the Grand Island Independent. She can be reached at 308-381-5420.