Like the past few years, the Hollister Chute Out bulls, which were gathered from some of the top breeders in country, dominated the dirt ring in Tres Pinos.
In a celebration of the past and future, the sixth annual Hollister bull riding event was once again deemed a success as nearly 2,000 spectators took in the day-long festivities at Bolado Park on Saturday.
Out of 41 bull riders – two riders were given second chances – only four stayed on the bulls for the necessary eight seconds.
“With it being a bull competition, people brought their best bulls,” organizer Billy Aviles said. “They brought their best bulls and the cowboys tried hard, but the bulls were too good.”
Throughout the night, bull riders from all over the West Coast struggled with the intensity of the 39 bulls from 14 different farms, including one owned by Hollister’s Alex Naccarato.
The bulls were so strong, the eventual winner, 21-year-old Sean Peterson had his winning ride – with a score of 86.5 – in the day’s second section. At the time, he was only the 12th rider of the afternoon. In the championship round – after already clinching his title – he was tossed from the bull in only a few seconds.
“They were good bulls,” Peterson said. “It’s nice to get one rode. I was happy to stay on. I just had to let it play out. I can’t do anything about it – I just have to stay calm and wait for my next one.”
Peterson’s championship – which includes a $14,500 purse – came five years after he won a bull riding title during a high school rodeo held in Tres Pinos. It was the first time he returned to Bolado Park since his high school crown.
“I guess I need to keep coming back here,” Peterson said. “This place likes me a bit. I was just trying to stay on. It feels good. It was awesome.”
But it was the bulls that truly stole the day.
Only seven riders stayed on the bulls for more than five seconds, as the bulls dominated the close competition. Thirteen breeders were up for the bull crown that went down to the wire between Anchor S and two teams headed by Crown 7.
The Fillmore, Calif. bull breeding company Crown 7 – teaming with Parker and Tugger Tews – took first and second place on the day with its six bulls. After bringing bulls to the Hollister competition for six straight years, it was the first championship for owner Michael Reza.
“It’s always a good place to be,” Reza said. “A lot of good people. The bulls are always good. The bulls are really good. We always have luck here.”
It’s why Reza always comes back, he said.
“Everything is really good, I think,” Reza said “Everything is well organized. I will absolutely come back. I will not miss this event ever.”
This year’s event included some different draws for the first time. Organizers added the Xtreme Bronc Riding championship this year, celebrating a piece of San Benito history. The event allowed three local teams to enter with six professional squads.
Tres Pinos’ team of Bill Caporgno, Scott Naccarato and Adrian Gonzalez finished second to a professional squad headed by Tyler Gheno. Hollister’s team of Paul Bianchi, T.J. Pickens and Beau Greninger placed third.
“It added a new flavor, absolutely,” Aviles said. “The crowd loved it. They were screaming and yelling. It was loud.”
The nine teams of three cowboys had to corral a wild horse and ride it around the Bolado Park track to the finish line. The Gheno team won easily, crossing the finish line minutes before Gonzalez followed. Most of the teams didn’t finish as their horse ran away with no riders.
“It was great, great watching,” Aviles said.
The event, though, hit its emotional peak midway through when organizers celebrated the 70th birthday of Alex Naccarato Sr., a well-known bull breeder. He was met with a warm applause in the center of the dirt circle. He shared a drink with friends and family before the competition continued.
“He’s got such a rich history in the bucking bull industry and it started here in Hollister,” Aviles said. “That’s the main reason for it. He’s made a great name for himself in the bucking bull industry and he has done a great job. You can turn on a TV and see his genetics every week.”
Because of this year’s success, Aviles expects even more growth next year, he said.
“Hollister is a small-town event, but it’s big time,” Aviles said. “We try to put on a big time promotion and the only reason it works is because the support of the town.”
Sean Peterson – 86.5
Brady Williams – 84.5
Cody Ibrahimi – 83.5
Sammy Mathews – 81.35