OCEAN CITY– For the first time ever, professional rodeo bull riding is coming to the Ocean City Inlet parking lot in June after resort officials this week approved the special event.
On Tuesday, the Mayor and Council had before them a request from Triple Creek Events to approve a Bulls on the Beach event scheduled for June 3-5 on a portion of the Inlet parking lot. Bulls on the Beach is a Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Bull Riding and Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rodeo.
An arena and bleachers will be constructed on a portion of the Inlet parking lot. Several truckloads of dirt will be hauled to the Inlet lot in advance of the bull-riding event in June, creating an eight-inch surface on which the rodeo will be held. Event organizers will haul the dirt back out of the Inlet lot and restore it to its pre-event condition after the rodeo is completed.
The bulls themselves will be housed off the island during the event, and trailered in on the days of the competition. Triple Creek Events and representative Alex Spies will be responsible for the event set-up and will provide security. Spies is requesting the town provide additional space for multiple trailers that transport the bulls and for trash pick-up after the performances. Spies, who appeared before the Mayor and Council on Tuesday, along with Triple Creek Events’ Chip Ridgely, outlined some of the details of the bull-riding event at the Inlet.
“Thanks for letting us come here,” he said. “We’re ready to answer any questions.”
Councilman Lloyd Martin praised the bull-riding event for being a departure from some of the town’s other special events.
“I think this looks like a really cool event,” he said. “I think it fits in with Ocean City and what we’re trying to do with different events.”
When asked to review the proposed event, the Ocean City Police Department said with the bull-riding event being a new event, it was difficult to evaluate the potential effects on the department. The OCPD said logistically, it’s not the best time period because calls for service spike at that time of year with the influx of young visitors.
However, Triple Creek Events will provide private security during the competition and at times when the site is closed when the event is over for the day. Councilman Mark Paddack said he did some research with other jurisdictions in which Triple Creek has hosted similar events.
“I spoke to Frederick County officials and they said you run a strict and tight event,” he said. “I like that you haven’t asked for an alcohol permit, but one of your vendors will seek a permit. I am glad you are providing security for the event. Our law enforcement resources are really stressed at that time of year.”
Mayor Rick Meehan questioned if any ordinance changes were needed to accommodate the bull-riding event.
“Do we have to specifically give approval to bring undomesticated animals into town?” he said. “I know we have an ordinance on undomesticated animals.”
City Solicitor Heather Stansbury said the town does have an ordinance restricting undomesticated animals, but this case might be different because the bulls won’t be housed on the island.
“I’ll take a close look at that,” she said. “If there are any changes, I’ll bring it back to you.”
As far as the amount of dirt needed, Spies said it will be minimal.
“It will be an eight-inch surface,” he said. “We went to an event at Salisbury and they had a 13-inch surface, which is overkill a little bit. We will haul the dirt in and haul it all back out and you’ll never know we were here.”
The council voted 6-0 with Council President Matt James absent to approve the special event.