Fraternity takes fundraising by the horns

Tyler Wittmer, a Phi Gamma Delta fraternity member, is thrown from the mechanical bull after a ride in the semifinal round during an event hosted by Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at the Blue Dome on Friday.

Mercedes Trent

Bumping beats, flushed faces and dramatic dance moves might be the standard for Friday night fun. Add in a mechanical bull and it may raise some eyebrows, which is exactly what Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity did when it kicked off its annual rodeo at the Blue Dome Friday night.

“Not everyone gets a chance to ride a mechanical bull,” said Gary Weeks, Sig Ep chapter president. “We wanted to do something innovative to get people excited.”

The rodeo is part of Sig Ep’s ongoing goal of raising money for donation to their philanthropy, YouthAIDS, and the fraternity always looks to involve as many students as possible in its pursuits.

“We received a pretty good response from the crowd,” said Kyle Knight, Sig Ep vice president of programming. “Everyone had fun watching and riding the bulls.”

While many people enjoyed testing their balance against the mechanical menace for fun, some were out for glory. The bull riding contest drew the largest crowd.

“It was goofy,” admitted Evansville sophomore Tyler Wittmer, who won the bull riding contest. “I didn’t know I was good at bull riding, so it was kind of like discovering a hidden talent.” 

Wittmer said his championship performance was inspired by the feedback he received when he was trying to get the hair out of his eyes in round four. “People thought I was doing the ‘Dougie’ and seemed to like it, so when it came time for the championship round, I had them play ‘Teach Me How to Dougie’ and I did the ‘Dougie.'”

Though the participants seemed to be having fun, planning the event was a labor. Weeks said the fraternity planned the event three months in advance.

Knight, who emceed the event as well, mentioned keeping connected with the owners of the Blue Dome to secure the venue and acquiring an alcohol license among the list of preparations, along with promoting the event to other Greek organizations to generate maximum involvement.

The Sig Eps don’t know how much money they raised from the rodeo yet, Weeks said. The rodeo is one of a string of events aimed at earning donations for YouthAIDS, and all proceeds from individual events are combined.

The fraternity will know how much they’ve raised after its “Queen of Hearts” beauty pageant tomorrow, he said.

Weeks expects the fraternity to raise $4,500 overall.

“We wouldn’t be able to raise the money without the participation of WKU’s students,” he said.

At the end of the night, students headed back to campus with stories to recount to their friends.

“It was very lively, very energetic and a lot of fun,” Bowling Green freshman Rachel Parsley said. “Well worth the three dollars.”