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Rodeo spotlight on Wise this weekend

By Erika Pedroza | Published Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wise County folks will shine under the bright lights during a pair of rodeo events at AT&T Stadium in Arlington this weekend.

Five local bullriders will compete for a share of the $150,000 purse during the Professional Bull Riders Dr Pepper Iron Cowboy V Saturday.

Sunday, members of the 1,000 Miles Till Home committee will partner with RFD-TV to give a veteran a home through the Military Warriors Support Foundation Homes4Heros program during The American rodeo.

In bull-riding action beginning at 7 p.m. Valdiron de Oliveira and Mike Lee will ride in the first round. Silvano Alves, Eduardo Aparecido Silva and Marco Eguchi, who were among the top eight riders in the Final World Standing last season, received an automatic bid and first-round byes.

The five are among 24 competitors in the Built Ford Tough Series (BFTS), single-elimination, bracket-style event.

Riders face off in pairs, and the one with the highest score – or longest riding time if neither holds on for eight seconds – advances to the next level.

The matchups continue until one prevails and is declared the Iron Cowboy. The winner receives $50,000 and the opportunity to win an additional $1 million if he can ride the event’s bonus bull, Bushwacker, in the Bad Boy Mowers Million Dollar Ride. This will be Bushwacker’s last appearance in competition in Texas, as he will retire at the end of the 2014 BFTS season.

No. 16 seed de Oliveira – who is fourth in the World Standings – will face Ty Pozzobon while ninth-seeded and second-ranked Lee goes against Gage Gay.

Second-seeded Alves, ranked 17th, will face the winner between Sean Willingham and Chase Outlaw. Seventh-seeded Aparecido will go against the winner of Fabiano Vieira and Zane Lambert while sixth-seeded and 13-ranked Eguchi faces either Stormy Wing or Lachlan Richardson.

This is the fifth consecutive year that the PBR has brought this one-of-a-kind event to Arlington. It is the ninth stop of 27 in the 2014 PBR BFTS, which culminates at the PBR World Finals Oct. 22-26 in Las Vegas.

BIGGER STAGE

In observance of the 10th anniversary of the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge in Decatur, 1,000 Miles Till Home – a division of Wise County Challenger Charities (WCCC) – in conjunction with Military Warriors Support Foundation, presented five veterans each a home last May.

The 1,000 Miles Till Home committee will take its efforts to a bigger stage and, along with RFD-TV, present a home to one veteran during The American, the richest one-day rodeo in history with more than $2 million in prize money.

“We’re trying to expand this to be more than just Wise County,” said Alan Sessions, a member of WCCC and the 1,000 Miles Till Home committee. “We want it to be as big as it can be, with it having started right here in Decatur.”

After WCCC partnered with Military Warriors Support Foundation, Wendell Berry Jr., a founder of WC Challenger Charities and a Fit-N-Wise trainer, established 1,000 Miles Till Home last year to raise money and awareness for WCCC’s newest cause – giving mortgage-free, remodeled homes to veterans wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan.

They had hoped to raise $20,000 and give away one home, but the fundraising campaign was so successful they were able to give away five homes.

This year, 14 other teams joined Berry in his running and fundraising efforts, paying $20 to participate. That money, along with the proceeds of a Heroes Night dinner – to be held March 29 – and other donations, furnishes the money that buys the homes.

Donations may be made via PayPal at www.1000milestillhome.com or mailed to WC Challenger Charities, P.O. Box 1238, Decatur, TX 76234.

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