Hitching post hosts bull riding events

They are some of the bravest humans on the planet, bull riders, who purposely ride the back of a 2,000 pound beast for 8 seconds. It's a sport that is not for the faint of heart.

There's a place you can try it yourself, bull riding night at the Hitching Post Restaurant in Apache Junction. Along with a great view of the Superstition Mountains at sunset, there is live music, plenty of food and drink, and a rodeo going on out back.

"We specialize in our bull riding on Thursdays and Saturdays," said Tina Lovelady.

Lovelady and her partners brought bull riding to the restaurant two years ago.

"Thursday night is practice, they come, and they practice... Saturday is when they come back if they want to ride for money," said Lovelady.

Saturday night's event cost $2 and of the proceeds half goes to the winning rider, and half goes to charity.

"Once a month we as bar owners put in $1,000 to make the purse pretty good," said Lovelady.

"I took a break for a while, and then I got back into it here," said Tim Boardman.

Boardman is one of the regular bull riders, and like everyone who wants to ride he has to sign a legal waiver so he cannot sue if he gets hurt.

"You can't come out and expect to do something for fun and go oh I twisted my ankle and blame someone else for something you wanted to do yourself," said Boardman.

Hunter Kelly rides bulls too at the age of 15.

"I've been around it my whole life, but I started in the last year, year and a half now, my family's been into it," said Hunter Kelly.

His mother was a rodeo champion several times, something he is trying to do.

On Saturday night, he rode well enough to take first place and win $500.

"One time I just came off, and a bull stepped on my head a little bit, and that was it," said Kelly.

Young riders like Hunter wear a helmet and padded vest for protection.

Carly Livingston is another young rider who hopes to make it as a professional rider someday.

"I've always had a passion for it," said Carly Livingston.

Her ride on Thursday didn't last eight seconds, but that didn't stop her from trying.

"I remember being 6-years-old and telling my dad I want to be a bull rider when I grow up, I've always been in love with it," she said.

They start riding younger than that at the hitching post; the night starts with sheep rides for the kids. Even 1-year-old Harley got a ride, his first, with his father holding on tight.

"To watch them get to be on the sheep eight seconds, they win money too and trophies," said Lovelady.

Still it's most bull riders who win the night. Experience counts, but anyone can ride if they sign a waiver and have the nerve to get on a bull.

The White Mountain Sheriff's Posse Pony Express will ride to the hitching post on Saturday, April 23, and a rodeo will help raise money for two of their fallen officers.