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Beach-side rodeo in Gulf Shores will go buck wild

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Beach-side bull riding is back this year in Gulf Shores.

The Flora-Bama is hosting Bulls on the Beach bull riding competition for its eighth year. The event will bring 30 professional bull riders to compete invitation-only for cash prizes in rodeo. The three-day event will also feature junior riders in competition on miniature bulls, and rodeo clown performances.

Despite its name, the Flora-Bama operates completely out of Florida, which means that it also follows Florida laws regulating restrictions on businesses to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Jenifer Parnell, the marketing director for the Flora-Bama, said that the event is operating restriction-free this year.

“Currently we don’t have any restrictions and it is also an outdoor event, which is a great environment for an event like this. If people want to wear a mask, they’re welcome to, but they’re not required,” Parnell said. “We are adding a little bit of bleachers this year to be able to have more people but also be able to space them out a little bit. Our sellout would be 1,500 a night and we fully anticipate to do that.”

The event is expected to bring in around 4,500 guests over the weekend. Parnell said some guests come because they’re fans of the sport. For others, it’s an unusual attraction.

“You have the people who in this regional area maybe they grew up watching rodeos and so they are excited just because it’s something that they’ve grown up with,” Parnell said. “I think you have the other side where people are going ‘a rodeo?’ Maybe they haven’t seen something like that before, especially right on the beach. It’s definitely unique, so I think a lot of people get enthralled with it and then they want to come back every year.”