EUGENE, Ore. -- The Pro Rodeo kicked off at Matthew Knight Arena Saturday night, taking the usual hardwood court and transforming it into a dirt-filled corral.
Matt West, a professional rodeo announcer, said that they have a hard working team behind that change that is essential to pulling off a night without a hitch.
“What these guys do is probably the most important thing, they are the unsung heroes of our sport,” said West. "Back behind our shoots, are the pens where the bulls are actually gonna be."
West is referring to the men behind the machinery that moved 25 truck loads of dirt into Matt Knight Arena. They are also responsible for the nearly 400 pieces of steel that keep the rodeo together.
The team has it down to a science, West said. The crew working on the Pro Rodeo have been at it since 3 a.m. Sunday.
"Obviously, we're completely surrounded with dirt and other things when we're dealing with farm animals so its not for the faint of heart,” said West.
Pro bull rider Derek Lacasa says not just any cowboy can do it.
“If you've ever been on one bull, most people think they're a bull rider. Not the case,” laughed Lacasa.
Lacasa said that for him, bull riding is a lot like playing golf.
“Golf is … repetition. Everything you do should be the same the way it was before,” Lacasa said. “It’s gonna be one man, one bull, gates are gonna crack, stuff's gonna happen, guys are gonna get run over. Bullfighters are gonna get in there, get touched, its gonna be great watchin."
It seems like it would take days to get all that dirt out of Matthew Knight Arena, but the team will start loading dump trucks back up as soon as the stadium clears out.