Stars were falling left and right last night at the 4 Cs Bucking Arena.
And the crowd loved it.
Celebrity bull riders demonstrated new skills taught in just one week to them by seven-time All-Around World Champion Cowboy Ty Murray.
Some stayed on the beast and some didn’t, but nobody could fault them for effort because they put on a good show.
CMT, a unit of Viacom networks, said they wanted a crowd to attend the filming of “Ty Murray’s Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge” and they got one - big time.
The arena was full and running over.
Cars lined the road on both sides for miles.
The Erath County Sheriff’s Department sent word through the announcer that anyone parked on the road should move to the Erath County Rodeo Arena Grounds, and it seemed like half the crowd moved out to obey.
Natasha Powell, CMT spokesperson, said they couldn’t believe the number of people that showed up and they were very pleased.
“We never expected this many,” she said. “This is great!”
And who showed up to help commentate? None other than international music star and Murray’s girlfriend Jewel.
Murray introduced each contestant individually and complimented all of them on their progression throughout the week. He explained how the celebrities came from all walks of life.
“It’s neat to see all these different worlds come together and find out at the end of the day how much we’re all just alike,” Murray said.
Stephen Baldwin, actor/musician, and Leif Garrett, also actor/musician, were injured and unable to participate, so both left Stephenville early and did not attend the event.
Francesco Quinn wasn’t able to participate due to injuries but he stayed to watch his comrades and spoke to the audience.
“I’m honored to have taken lessons from Ty,” he said. He expressed disappointment at not being able to ride.
Murray said Quinn had spent two nights in the hospital with broken ribs and a bruised lung among other injuries.
“He’s got more natural talent that just about anybody I’ve ever seen,” Murray said.
The audience was more than enthusiastic about meeting the rest of the celebrities and gave a warm Stephenville welcome to Raghib “Rocket” Ismail, former NFL player; Kenny Bartram, Moto-X Rider, X-Games; Dan “Nitro” Clark, Actor-American Gladiator; Jonny (Dalton) Fairplay, Reality Star “Survivor,” and Josh Haynes, UFC Fighter.
Then the reason for such fierce competition came to light. It seems that each contestant put $200 towards a winner-take-all jackpot for $1,200.
Only two riders stayed on for a full eight seconds - Dan “Nitro” Clark (who rode with a pulled groin muscle) and Kenny Bartram. Because all did so well a winner was not chosen and the money went towards a party at an unknown location in Stephenville.
Murray said from here the group will be performing at a PBR event in Nashville, Tennessee, for an audience of 20,000. He thanked Stephenville for helping them get ready for the big showl.
The first of six episodes will air on August 10.