Tucked away on a dirt road in Osseo, Michigan, ProEdge Arena is a picture-perfect farm. Bulls low in their pens, just steps away from both the arena and the home of owners Cari and Earl Proctor. Their 10-year-old son, Strand, darts around with the dogs, stopping only to sell home-made creations to a visiting family friend.
While it might be a snapshot throughout the week, Saturday nights at ProEdge Arena are wild. ProEdge Arena hosts bull-riding, the second season of which is set to open Saturday.
The arena hosts 24 events over the season, which pack the wooden stadium seats with upward of 300 people. An audience member will see between 40 and 45 bull-rides each Saturday, of both advanced and novice riders. The riders — between 30 and 45 compete each week — square off for prize money, as well as points that count toward a national standing.
“It’s non-stop, in-your-face, energetic — there’s really no downtime,” said Cari Proctor.
The arena makes the event a family affair, even sporting a sandbox in the corner. Some families come practically every weekend, according to Cari Proctor.
ProEdge Arena doesn’t bring just bulls to the ring. Owners Cari and Earl Proctor also use the sport as a ministry.
“We wanted to reach the cowboys — and the community, of course — with the gospel,” Cari Procter said.
And this outreach is more than a simple pre-ride prayer. The whole arena is steeped in Christianity, from the Christian music they play during the event to the tile cross embedded into the arena entrance.
The couple prays over which song to play at the beginning of the night. They also host a gospel message and prayer before Saturday’s event.
Cari Proctor noted it isn’t a full church service, but, rather, “a little bit of study beforehand.”
Earl Proctor, who rode bulls professionally for 16 years, said he knows of some people that have committed themselves to the faith because of the work they do.
One such person is Cody Walden, 24, who works on the farm. The Proctors invited him to church and although he was skeptical at first, Walden soon committed himself to the faith.
Being a Christian has made him work harder at bull-riding, Walden said.
“I feel like God’s given me more strength in my heart and head,” he said.
The Proctors also plan on hosting full Sunday church services in the future, and their son is working on a kid’s message for the Saturday events.
“It’s a creative way to reach the lost,” Earl Proctor said. “We decided if we weren’t doing something to glorify God, then what’s the point?”
ProEdge Arena is located at 2325 Blackridge Rd., Osseo, Michigan. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for 13 and older, $5 for ages 6 to 12, and free for children under 5. The first event of the season is Saturday.