Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo returns to Merrill for another ride

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 9:25 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2023 at 9:26 PM CDT
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MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) - It’s one of the biggest draws of the year for Lincoln County as the Wisconsin River Pro Rodeo is back in Merrill for the weekend.

For 34 years now, the Lincoln County Rodeo Association has been hosting the event. Professional bull riders from around the country come out to compete in this competition each year.

The bull riding portion of the rodeo competition began around 9 p.m. Friday night. Many people in attendance are delighted to come to this event year after year, as do the bull riders who participate in the competition.

Ben Visnovec took a bit of a gamble joining the sport, “It all started with a bet with my brothers they said I wouldn’t do it.”

The animals are the backbone of the rodeo circuit and they are treated like family. Barnes PRCA Rodeo out of Iowa supplies the livestock.

Eight events make up the competition with the fans being the real winners.

“Seeing the kids just smile, being so excited to be a real cowgirl. I love seeing the smiling fans enjoy the rodeo,” Visnovec added.

Over 26,000 people came to last year’s event.

“I think it draws a lot of people. It helps local businesses and it’s something to look forward to,” said Visnovec.

He said he really enjoys the chance to showcase his talents in bull riding.

“It can’t get any better than getting that close to one of these animals. It’s a different feeling than anything else you can do.”

The Pro Rodeo Series continues through the weekend until the final competition on Sunday.