Some looked worried and others laughed as a line of students waited for free bull rides in the Union Courtyard Friday night. Lameese Madi, freshman in history and political science, smiled with nervousness as the mechanical bull started up. Upon the first whip of the bull, she was flung from the mechanism into the padded pit surrounding her.
“It was crazy. It was a life-changing experience,” Madi said. “Nowhere in my near future will I be a bull rider. Come to find out, I have no balance for it.”
Madi said she had gone to see the Union Program Council’s showing of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” when they announced free bull rides in the courtyard. She and a group of friends agreed to attend Western Night after the movie had finished. Madi was one of the first people to get into the pit and ride the mechanical bull.
Western Night was hosted by UPC, who teamed up with the Country Swing and Two-Step Club and the Rodeo Club. UPC had approached both groups about being a part of Western Night due to the event’s theme and the groups’ expertise.
“These groups have never gotten together for an event before,” said Mike Offerman, president of the Country Swing and Two-Step Club and senior in secondary education. “To my knowledge, I don’t think UPC has ever even had an event to this caliber before.”
Offerman hoped the event would help get the word out about the sponsoring student organizations, as well as draw in potential members. He also said that Western Night helped expose the country atmosphere at K-State.
Country swing dancing and two-stepping were a part of the event. Offerman and members of his organization helped teach students to do these dances.
“I really hope more people learn how to dance,” said Sarah Boatman, sophomore in theatre. “I am here to help teach people how to dance. I enjoy dancing, so I hope by teaching others how to dance, that they enjoy it too.”
Boatman said the event went well. She noted that attendees were eating the biscuits and gravy and drinking the sweat tea provided, as well as dancing and conversing. Boatman said the event was all about meeting new friends and getting involved.
Stuart Ray, Manhattan native and country musician, provided live music.
“So far, what I’ve heard from Stuart Ray, he sounds really good,” Offerman said.
Aside from free bull rides, the Rodeo Club also provided the practice equipment and skills to teach students who attended the event how to rope.
“We are here to show people how to rope,” said Adam Pack, president of the Rodeo Club and junior in park management and conservation. “We tend to spend a lot of our time doing this when it’s too cold to ride horses. We are also out here selling tickets and advertising for the upcoming K-State Rodeo.”
The K-State Rodeo will be held Feb. 22-24 in Weber Arena. Pack said that if people were unable to purchase tickets for the K-State Rodeo at Western Night, they could purchase tickets at Varney’s Book Store, the Union Bookstore, RC McGraw’s, Orscheln stores in Manhattan and Junction City, Tractor Supply or RB Outpost.
“I came out for a good time,” Pack said. “I know this is something I [and the members of the K-State Rodeo Club] would enjoy.”