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Bobby Bratton Benefit Bull Riding


Article & photos by Tara N. Moody

Tupelo, MS – The first annual Bull Riding & Junior Bull Riding benefit for Bobby Bratton was held Saturday, August 5, 2017 in Tupelo, Mississippi, sanctioned by the Alabama Professional Bull Riders and produced by R&K Productions: Spencer and Holly Robertson of Holly Springs, MS and Clay and Casey Knight of Tupelo, MS. There was $1500 added money for bull riding and $200 added for junior bulls. The $60 entry fee promised 100% payback.

Bobby Bratton is a fellow cowboy and dear friend of the rodeo producers. He was diagnosed 14 years ago with brain cancer and was given only one year to live. He has defied the odds thus far, and his friends wanted to assist with the medical bills and living expenses to make things a bit easier for the family. 

The crowd started gathering around 6:00 p.m., with much anticipation and excitement! Bulls were being unloaded, food was cooking on the grill, children were running around, and cowboys grouped together reminiscing about the rodeo scene. Old friends and families came together and the scene was fun and lighthearted, almost like a reunion of sorts.  As I looked around, there were smiles on almost everyone’s faces as they did their jobs.  

The action began at 8:00pm, with introductions from Bill Hankins, Rodeo Announcer from Eupora, Mississippi. Cheyenne Jones carried the American flag atop her buckskin gelding, as the pair trotted around the arena to a patriotic tune, and the crowd stood in observance.  The bull riding contestants were announced individually and gathered in a single file line with hands held to their hearts.  After comments about the evening’s purpose and an emotional prayer, Mr. Bratton’s son stood to express his gratitude for the event and the people who made it possible.  To complete the patriotic kickoff, I sang the National Anthem a cappella

Then the bull riders took their positions and the competition began. Results are as follows:

In the Senior Division, Trey Watkins of Somerville, TN came in #1; Aaron Bailey of Ripley, MS was second; and Chad Owens of Fulton, MS took 3third place.  In the Junior Division, Dustin Stutts took home first place and Tyler Gusbee came in second. 

Pat Hughes, the hilarious rodeo clown, kept the crowd entertained between bull rides. And Bull Fighters Tyler Robertson and Trevor Wells, both sanctioned by the APB, did their part to keep the bull riders safe. The competition went on until 10:30 pm, with plenty of excitement for the audience. 

Rodeo producer Spencer Robertson praised the success of the event: “We were extremely pleased with the outcome and the attendance of our first annual event.  We also surpassed our expectations on the funds raised for Bobby.  It couldn’t have gone better!  We have even had potential sponsors already contact us about supporting next year’s event.  It has been amazing to witness a community working together to support this cause.  Bobby has touched the lives of many people.  Clay (Knight) and I want to express our gratitude and can’t wait to see everyone next year!”

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