Riding high at Paris Fairgrounds


Nick Goncalves, Ben Peever, Adam Hinkley and Tyler Bauer may have significantly different backgrounds but they still have a lot in common.All four love bull riding and were at the Bulls and Bikes Show 2019 Stampede Days at the Paris Fairgrounds on Sunday. The event brings together top bull riders and extreme motocross to entertain fans and raise money for Help A Child Smile and Camp Maple Leaf.“I compete at a lot of rodeos every year but the one in Paris is kind of special for me,” said Goncalves, 29, of Simcoe. “This is where I competed for the first time. I was 12 at the time and after my first ride I was hooked.” Contributed photo Goncalves has been bull riding ever since and spends his weekends competing at rodeos across North America. He’s having a good season so far this year and considering the rigours and dangers associated with riding a 500- to 1,000-kilogram beast for eight seconds, Goncalves considers himself fortunate.After 17 years of bull riding and a lot of bumps and bruises, he hasn’t suffered any major injuries.Bull riding requires a lot of time travelling and, fortunately for Goncalves, he has a friend in Simcoe – eighteen-year-old Ben Peever – who also competes on the Professional Bull Tour.Peever, who has been riding since he was 15, is a graduate of Simcoe Composite School. He and Goncalves work together at Kings Wood Products in Paris and travel together to competitions.Peever is getting help in his first year from Kicking Cowboy Designs, a clothing design company.Hinkley, 33, who hails from Colac Victoria, Australia, was also at the Paris Fairgrounds to compete on Sunday. He, too, fell in love with bull riding as a youngster.“I came here (Canada) because there are more competitions than there are in Australia,” Hinkley said. “I can compete in a couple during the week and on weekends.“There’s a lot of travelling involved but it’s something that I’m passionate about and it’s what I like to do.”Although casual observers might think bull riding is all about staying on the bull for as long as possible, Hinkley said it’s about technique and the riders are judged.Although, he has competed in hundreds of rodeos, Hinkley still remembers his first time.“I was scared sh…ss at the time and really wondered what I had gotten myself into. But after my first ride, I never looked back.”Bauer, meanwhile, is an 15-year-old from Amaranth, Ontario, near Orangeville. He is autistic and discovered bull riding after years of searching for an activity he’d enjoy.“He tried karate trampoline, cub scouts and soccer but it was always kind of hard for him,” his mother Jill said Sunday. “This is something he loves and I support all of my children in their chosen activities. But yes, of course, I’m nervous for him when he’s competing.”So nervous in fact, that she never watches him ride. Instead, she keeps herself busy video taping his competitons.Bauer began his career with steer riding when he was 11 and attended two riding schools, Build A Cowboy and Bramers. After only two years of competing, Bauer earned himself a spot at the Calgary Stampede.Although the competitions are nerve-wracking, Bauer said Tyler enjoys it and said there are benefits that go well beyond the bull riding.“He’s with people who love what they do and they accept him for who he is,” Bauer said. “He’s a better person for having been around all of the people on the tour.”Tyler said he has had a few injuries but nothing too serious and only needed a couple of words to describe what he likes about bull riding.“It’s the adrenaline rush,” he said.Sunday’s event also featured Canadian motorcycling legend Jordan Szoke, winner of more than 22 national championships in Superbikes and Sport bike. Szoke and his freestyle extreme team put on a display of skills and stunt driving that included free-style motocross jumpers.Founded in 1987, Help A Child Smile provides support to more than 800 families with children being treated at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton.Camp Maple Leaf was founded in 1955 by the Council of Canadian War Veterans. It is located in the Kawarthas and provides programs that promote self-confidence, self-esteem and problem solving skills to underprivileged children and children of military [email protected]/EXPVBall Ben Peever, left and Nick Gonclaves of Simcoe were at the Bulls and Bikes Show 2019 Stampede Days at the Paris Fairgrounds on Sunday. The show brought together bull and motocross racers for an afternoon of entertainment in support of Help A Child Smile and Camp Maple Leaf. Gonclaves, 29, is a veteran of the professional circuit while Peever is a relative newcomer. Both will be competing in rodeos throughout North America this season.

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