By Desiree Johnson

Killeen Daily Herald

The Central Texas State Fair wouldn't be the same without bull riding.

This year the fair, which opened Thursday and ends Sunday, is bringing audiences the Professional Bull Riding Challenger Tour.

It will feature 40 bulls in the long go and 10 in the short go from Frontier Rodeo.

Champions will be crowned on Saturday night, but tonight's preliminaries are not going to be easy. Audiences can expect to see the 2005 bull of the year, as well as Scene of the Crash, a bull that bucked at the state fair three years ago and now returns as a 2006 riding finals bull.

Event organizer Keith Smith has worked for the past year to make sure the fair has something for everyone. "A first-class event is what we're trying to do," Smith said. "My philosophy is, we don't have to get bigger, just better."

With an expected attendance of 30,000 to 40,000 people, Smith has lined up many unique performances and vendors to please the public.

Throughout the weekend, audiences can catch a hypnotist, a

bike stunt team, a juggler, a mechanical bull, livestock shows, a petting zoo, a rock climbing wall, and the traditional carnival rides and games.

Eighty vendors have signed up for the weekend, and Smith encourages people not to miss the demolition derby and monster truck shows. Tonight's monster truck show is spotlighting Big Red, a 37-foot-long monster truck converted from an old firetruck.

If you miss the show, get on the monster truck ride, Sudden Impact.

The demolition derby, scheduled for Sunday night, is sure to be filled with surprises in the comfort of the air-conditioned Expo Center. "It looks like the five o'clock wrecks on the freeways in Dallas out there," Smith said. "You just never know what you're going to see."

In the end, Smith just wants to see everyone have a good time. His favorite part of the job is watching kids' faces light up on carnival rides, and he hopes that it helps military families forget the realities of war.

"If we can make them forget what's going on with their loved ones for even five minutes, it's a good thing," Smith said.

Tonight is Military Night and all military and dependents will be admitted free by showing an ID.

Admission tickets to the fairgrounds are $2 for adults and $1 for children. For more information, check out the fair's Web site at or the Expo Center's Web site at

Contact Desiree Johnson at (254) 501-7559 or

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