DANVILLE — Some real cowboys will be drifting into town later this week to showcase their bull-riding skills at the Vermilion County Fair.
The Friday night event sanctioned by the National Federation of Professional Bullriders will have all the elements — bulls, bull riders, even clowns, said event organizer Doug Cronk.
"Nothing is more fun than rodeos. ... We are really looking forward to it," said Cronk, who's been working with fair organizers the last few years to expand the lineup of horse arena events, giving the Vermilion fairair something unique to offer in the area.
You can watch bull riding on television, he said, but this is an opportunity to hear the clang of the chutes in person as the bulls storm into the arena.
"It's very exciting," Cronk said.
The two-round bull-riding competition will feature two pens of about 20-40 bulls and 10 to 30 bull riders from multiple Midwestern states, Cronk said. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Friday, and the first clang of the chutes will be heard about 7 p.m.
Cronk said bull-riding is an all-new attraction that organizers hope will "really take off" at this year's Vermilion County Fair, which kicks off at 5 p.m. Tuesday with $1 carnival rides and the queen pageant and continues through Saturday.
The horse arena gets rolling Wednesday night with an open horse show, then one of the biggest barrel racing competitions in the area on Thursday night, followed by the bull riding Friday night and a team roping competition at 10 a.m. Saturday that draws cowboys from as far as Oklahoma and Iowa, Cronk said.
All the horse arena events are free, he said, except for the bull riding competition, which is $5 a person, and children under 5 are free. After the bull riding, Cronk said, live entertainment by the High-Low Drifters kicks off with plenty of food and drink available.
The grandstand lineup includes a truck and tractor pull Wednesday night, an antique tractor pull Thursday night and a demolition derby Friday night.
What: Vermilion County Fair and Expo
When: Tuesday through Saturday
Where: Vermilion County Fairgrounds, on U.S. 150, first road west of the Martin Luther King Jr. exit on Interstate 74