The 16th annual Oyen Bullarama touches down this July 20. Here’s our guide illustrating some of the best things about Oyen’s best-kept secret.

In 1999, what is now known as the White Lightning Dodge Cowboy Crunch Oyen Bullarama began with a goal of bringing together the best bulls and riders in Canada to raise money for the town. Sixteen years later, the Bullarama has become an Oyen community institution, inviting thirty of the best riders and cowboys to compete in some of the west’s best rodeo. All challengers are welcome but eventually, the competition will be whittled down to the top 6 duking it out for the glory of a $10,000 grand prize and a championship belt buckle – if they can outlast the bulls, that is. Surviving the Bullarama will grant you a pride that only comes with surviving a A+ rodeo event. Here’s our guide illustrating the best things about Oyen’s best-kept secret.

Bulls, Bulls, Bulls

Expect bloodless bullfighting at Bullarama but just remember that bloodless doesn’t exactly mean boring. With more than 4000 people in the stands all from Oyen and surrounding areas, the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association-sponsored event leads into the subsequent Calgary Stampede quite nicely, sometimes featuring some of the same performers. Here, the emphasis is on the bulls. It’s all professional bullriding only. Thirty bullriders, each getting one ride only, try and outlast one another in the long run before an intermission, where the top six return for another go at it. It’s intense and it makes for great entertainment.

Fun fact: in the past, the Bullarama featured intermission games such as cowboy poker. Fortunately it’s not making a return this year but cowboy poker involves sitting at a small table playing poker while a raging bull makes its way to upend your table, your game and possibly you. It’s as wild as you’d expect. If you can be the last person standing – or in this case, sitting – you’ll win but that’s asking quite a lot.

This year, a pig scramble serves to break up the action between bullriding. A $50 bill is attached to two small pigs in the ring and kids are let loose to hunt them down for the cash prize. It’s a muddy family affair and if you can train your kids well enough, there’s the chance of walking away with more than just $50.

Food, Food, Food

If you’re looking for a quick respite from the action or you’re looking for supper, food booths are present on the grounds featuring delectables such as beef on a bun, hamburgers, BBQ smokies, hotdogs, coffee, water and of course, Spitz. Vendors featuring cotton candy and mini donuts will also be hand to provide the expected rodeo food experience. There’s also a beer gardens area for those more interested in a cold, stiff drink or two.

It Takes A Village To Raise A Bull

At the heart of the Bullarama is community. The event is entirely volunteer-run, the proceeds going back into the community that hosts, supports and also provides funding for its challenges. A kids’ zone is included, featuring face painting, roping, a jump in bouncer and other challenges like a treasure hunt in the sand (featuring buried money) and a mini rock wall for climbing. The kids’ zone goes all night long.

The 16th annual Oyen Bullarama takes place at the Oyen RCMP Corrals July 20th. The gates for the 16th annual Bullarama open at 5pm, with bull riding starting at 7pm.