Three Sawmills residents raise bucking bulls, host rodeos

'It's bucking time'
Nov. 04, 2014 @ 06:26 AM

Shane Wilson drove his truck over the ditches, creeks and hills of his family's farmland in Sawmills. In the truck bed, his two business partners and dog, Blue, bounced along with sacks of grain. Alongside the truck, cattle with long horns followed as Wilson yelled out the window, “Come on, girls! Come on, girls!”

When Wilson reached a valley, he pulled the truck to a stop and hopped out to help his partners, Kyle Evans and Jason Young, pour feed in the grass for the cattle. A black bull named Pop Star stood out among the females as he muscled his way to the grain. Pop Star is one of leading attractions of the company that Wilson, Evans and Young run, Out of the Hat Cattle Company. This year, he is the breeding bull chosen to create, they hope, the next generation of famous bucking bulls.

Wilson, Evans and Young started Out of the Hat last year because of their love of rodeos and riding bulls. Wilson said the name came about somewhat by accident. One night, the three put name suggestions in a hat. One was supposed to draw out a piece of paper that would be the winning name, but all the names fell out of the hat by accident, so they decided to go with Out of the Hat Cattle Company. Their logo on shirts, hats and other merchandise shows a bull bursting out of a top hat.

While none of them ride anymore because they have families, they still enjoy hosting rodeos at Tough Enough Arena in Granite Falls and taking their bulls to other rodeos in the state.

“I’ve always went to rodeos,” Young said. “I used to ride a long time ago, but I got smart and started hauling them . . . instead of getting hurt.”

Evans said that even when not riding a bull, the job can be dangerous. After riding for 10 years, Evans gave up being on the back of a bull, but while working with his stock, a bull came up behind him and gored him in the buttocks. He ended up in the hospital for a few months.

“If you’re messing with bulls, like they say, you’ll get the horns,” Evans said.

Wilson said they have a few “star” bulls, such as Pop Star, Diesel Train, Whirligig and Lonely Boy, that show well in the rodeo ring. Training a bucking bull to perform takes three years, which includes strapping a dummy rider to their backs to get them accustomed to having someone riding them.

“People mistake this breed for being mean,” Wilson said. “They’re not really mean. When it’s bucking time, they know. They put their game face on just like any athlete.”

Evans said that putting on a show can cost up to $5,200. Shows are typically April through October, and the hardest part of putting one together is bringing out the crowds. Young said this year’s rainy weather drove a lot of audience members away.

“We try to make it as entertaining for the families as we can,” Young said. “Hopefully if we can keep it entertaining, people will keep coming back.”

Some entertaining activities, aside from watching cowboys try to stay on a bull for eight seconds, include young children riding sheep and barrel racing.

To bring in additional funds, the guys also raise Angus cattle to sell. Wilson said he is not a fan of the process, but it is a necessity to pay the bills. He would rather keep the cows.

Evans said that rodeo dates for the next season are not set yet, but they hope to expand the activities offered, including an end-of-the-year banquet. For now, they will work on raising the yearling bucking bulls into future champions.

Evans pointed at three yearlings approaching a trough to eat in a separate arena from the females and big bulls. Among them was a black and white bull, the son of Diesel Train, known as Little Diesel.

“These are our future,” Evans said.

Bull riders, barrel racers highlight Out of the Hat Cattle Co. Challenge

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Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2015 7:04 pm

The spotlight will be on the animals and the athletes Saturday night as the lights of Tough Enough Rodeo arena light up the bull riders and barrel racers taking part in the Out of the Hat Cattle Co. Challenge.

“It’s family entertainment, people like to see the different animals and the livestock and the rodeo,” Kyle Evans said, who is an owner of Out of the Hat Cattle Co. and the announcer of Saturday night’s event.

The final Out of the Hat Cattle Co. Challenge of the season will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at Tough Enough Rodeo arena in Granite Falls. Tickets are $8 and children 6 and under get in free.

The event will include athletes who are part of the National Junior Bullriders Association, some as young as three or four, who are always a fan favorite, according to Evans.

“The little kids are always cute,” Evans said.

In addition to the rowdy eight-second-rides, the night will also feature a barrel racing event.

“The girls that compete in the barrel racing are really fun, they have really fast horses,” Evans said.

The Tough Enough Rodeo Arena is easily accessible to cars and trucks and for spectators that arrive when the gates open at 5 p.m., and many spectators will back their pick-up trucks up to the arena fence, drop their tailgates and watch the night’s events from the bed of their vehicles.

Fans who don’t have a pick-up bed to watch from can bring lawn chairs and set up by the arena or find a seat in the stands to watch as the horses and bulls stir up the dust.

“I enjoy the whole show,” Evans said. “It’s always entertaining and we have a really good time.”