Stout and brawny bulls whipped and bucked bull riders from 10 states all over the arena during the first-ever AppleJack Extreme Bull Riding Tour in Nebraska City Sept. 26, 2015. The bull riding action, volunteerism, organization efforts, sponsorships, added prize money, championship belt buckles and the attendees were all of the reasons that the Extreme Bull Riding Tour has received a high honor from Bullriders of America Inc., which is an association that primarily sanctions bull riding events in the Midwest.

The BOA named the event as the best 2015 New Event of the Year during the BOA finals in Ottumwa, Iowa, in the beginning of February.

Double S Bull Co. LLC. co-owner and operator Shad Smith of Sidney, Iowa, said the award was given to his company, the AppleJack Festival Committee and Tony Moyer of Nebraska City, who was a volunteer organizer of the event.

Nebraska City Tourism & Commerce Executive Director Amy Allgood was thrilled about the event being such a success and applauded Moyer for thinking of bringing it to Nebraska City in the first place.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to Tony because he was the one who brought this idea to town, he’s the one who helped get all of the volunteers and helped get everything,” Allgood said. “I’ll be honest, the chamber doesn’t know the first thing about finding all of the parts and pieces that go into a bull riding event and Tony made this a reality for Nebraska City through his volunteerism hands down.”

Moyer had approached NCTC about having the bull riding event two years ago. The event happened the weekend after the AppleJack Festival because it would draw more people into town and allow for Nebraska City residents, who perhaps had to work during the beloved festival, to attend.

“We are trying to take AppleJack and extend it into the fall season and this is just a great event on another weekend so that we have more traffic coming to town,” Allgood said. “Most Nebraska City residents work AppleJack weekend so this is a nice getaway for a lot of people the next weekend to enjoy.”

Many people were surprised at how quickly a bare flat area of land was transformed into a bull riding extravaganza at Red Fox Run, which is now known as Hidden Falls.

A portable arena was erected, an announcer’s stand was built, a beer garden was created and it took a lot of behind-the-scenes work for the bull riding to begin. Moyer was expecting 600 attendees, but he was pleasantly surprised when that amount more than doubled for the one-night event. He said the event’s success was a team effort.

“Overall, it was a good event. It really was,” Moyer said. “Here in Nebraska City, I only asked once and (all of the people) showed up to set up the arena, to work the gates, to work the beer garden … anything I asked they did,” Moyer said. “We had an inch of rain two nights before, we had the arena dried out and we were ready to go for show time.”

Winners of the open bull, junior bull and mutton bustin’ divisions were presented with championship belt buckles at the Extreme Bull Riding event. Moyer also credits the $5,000 added money as a great way to lure in some of the best bull riders in the nation. There were also two riders from Brazil who competed at the event.

“I think that’s probably why we won Event of the Year,” Moyer said. “I think they were pleased with our set-up, the added money, the buckles and just the all-around atmosphere.”

Smith said based on Nebraska City’s size and the fact that the event was only one night, the $5,000 added money was impressive.

Moyer credited Smith, who operates Double S Bulls with his wife Vicki Smith, for bringing the junior bull riders to compete, providing the bulls and for the company being named as the Stock Contractor of the Year for the 16th time.

“Shad has really, really good bulls,” Moyer said. “They put on a good show.”

While Moyer was busy getting sponsors, selling tickets, advertising the event, rounding up volunteers and so forth, Smith’s responsibilities were providing the bulls, riders, personnel, secretary, bull fighters, barrel men and such.

Jack Olson of Nebraska City owns the Hidden Falls property and allowed the event to take place on the property. Olson said many people had a blast and have asked him if the bull riding event was going to take place this fall. He now has his answer.

This year’s AppleJack Bull Riding Tour is slated to take place the weekend after the AppleJack Festival, however, it’s been extended to include two nights of action.

Moyer said Sept. 23 will be a “family night” with the all of the mutton bustin’ participants competing in the arena and activities for children will also take place. He added that every participant will be awarded with a ribbon and the top 10 best mutton bustin’ riders will enter the arena the following night, Sept. 24, for the championship belt-buckle ride.

Sept. 24 will be the main event with the bull riders, junior bull riders and best mutton bustin’ riders. Moyer and Allgood are hoping to have a band playing that evening, however, that is still being planned.

“We’ve already got things in the works. Jack’s got some sponsors and I’ve got some sponsors,” Moyer said. “Things seem to be going a little easier this year.”

Allgood is hoping to feature a cowboy film, like “The Longest Ride” or “8 Seconds,” to be played in the sunken parking lot along Central Avenue during the AppleJack Festival, and to also have a bounce house for children and sell tickets there for the bull riding event. A mechanical bull is planning on making an appearance in the AppleJack Festival Parade to promote the bull riding event as well.

NCTC Board of Directors Past-President Tammi Thompson sees the bull riding event growing in the future years.

“There’s good opportunity for this to keep going,” Thompson said. “AppleJack is already a success on that third weekend in September so this is a way to keep people coming to Nebraska City.”

Smith said it was a team effort to make the event a success and thinks the Extreme Bull Riding event could become an AppleJack staple.

“I can’t put on a great event with just me and they can’t do it without me. It’s a group effort to make something like this happen,” he said. “We got good attendance from it and people are talking about it.

“We hope to become a permanent fixture,” he added. “The whole group of people were good to work with. It takes community involvement to make any good event work and we had great help from all angles. It was the first year of ever doing anything like this. There was a lot of not knowing going into this, but they did a great job. In the end, we had a great event and everybody left happy.”

Moyer thanked Allgood, Thompson and former NCTC Past-President Kristin Stracke for all of their help as well.

“When I needed something, I got it. There was no em-hawing around. It was there when I needed it,” he said. “Overall, I think it was a great event.”

If this year’s bull riding event is successful, perhaps Moyer’s goal of having two whole nights of bull riding will become a reality in the near future.