‘Some call it church, some call it bull riding’

A man cheers at a bull riding event.
Courtesy | ProEdge Arena Facebook

Every Saturday night at ProEdge Arena, Earl and Carie Proctor bring the gospel and bucking bulls together to create a show full of entertainment and evangelism. Bull riding competition, music, games, and giveaways make for a community hotspot in Osseo, MI.

But more than an entertainment center, ProEdge arena provides the gospel, worship, and prayer to the community through weekly rodeo shows. Decorated with crosses and Bible verses, ProEdge swims against the current of mainstream rodeo culture.

Earl Proctor, who grew up riding horses, began bull riding as a young man and rode competitively across the country for 16 years until his son was born. Raised in the rodeo, Proctor was acclimated to the party scene surrounding the sport.

“When we decided to have our son, Christ got a hold of us,” Proctor said.

Proctor said he created ProEdge as an opportunity to demonstrate his faith not only to the audience, but to the riders as well. With devotions given to the riders every Saturday before the shows, Proctor said he hopes to transform the lifestyle associated with bull riding.

“One of our major goals is changing that culture. Over the years I’ve seen guys get delivered from addiction to drugs and alcohol,” Proctor said.

Proctor said he hopes to set an example for young riders everywhere who are adapting to the rodeo scene. He wants to show young men the power of faith and love.

Sophomore Holly Stover, who attended a rodeo show with her friends, said she appreciated the blend of Christianity and entertainment.

“I loved how Christianity was tied into the program with a sermon at the beginning and Bible verses engraved on the bull stalls,” Stover said. “It shows how the bull riders could pursue a sport they loved while also pursuing Christ.”

Proctor said the shows aren’t meant to feel like church, but “while I’ve got them all here, might as well share the Gospel.”

The family-friendly atmosphere that the Proctors have created is drawing a crowd of Hillsdale students, including senior Cassidy Carson.

“The rodeo was so much fun, I’m so glad I got the chance to finally go,” Carson said. “The community-centered environment they create is so wholesome and it’s a great way to spend your weekend.”

Doors currently open to the public at 6 pm every Saturday night through the end of April. Tickets are available for purchase with cash on sight. So far, ProEdge has drawn crowds of over 500 spectators every weekend.

As their FaceBook page touts, “some call it church, some call it bull riding. We call it Pro Edge Arena.”

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