SIKESTON - "The rodeo grounds are ready and we're ready," assured Lloyd Stoner, general chairman of the 52nd Annual Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo.
It is a good thing for Stoner and the other Jaycees that everything is in place for the 2004 rodeo because there is a lot ahead. In a press briefing Monday, Stoner detailed the activities this year's rodeo will bring.
The rodeo will begin with the grand entry, scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. The rodeo itself starts at 7 p.m., Stoner said.
Kicking off the entertainment will be Emerson Drive and Joe Nichols on Wednesday. Blake Shelton will perform Thursday followed by Chris Cagle on Friday and Phil Vassar on Saturday.
Several of the performers are promoting special causes. Working with the Missouri Highway Patrol, Emerson Drive has collected teddy bears which will be used to comfort children involved in accidents. The group is scheduled to distribute some of those bears during their visit to Sikeston.
In conjunction with Blake Shelton, dog food is being collected for the Sikeston Humane Society.
The rodeo, the Standard Democrat, Phil Vassar, Sabona and Wrangler have teamed together for the American Child Literacy Campaign. The partnership is collecting children's books for the Sikeston Public Library and the Parents as Teachers Program. Those who donate books are eligible for a drawing for four box seats and the opportunity to meet Vassar.
Sikeston residents can join with the cowboys and others in the Cowboy/Cowgirl Rodeo Scramble at the Bootheel Golf Course on Friday. Proceeds benefit the Cowboy Crisis Fund.
Saturday's rodeo activities begin at the Clinton Building in the Sikeston Sports Complex with the 10th Annual Redneck Barbecue. In addition to an adult and children's barbecue competition, there will be musical entertainment, a craft show, Redneck Dog Show, concessions and a Civil War re-enactment. Activities are slated from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Also on Saturday will be Lunch with the Rodeo Clowns, giving youngsters the opportunity to meet the clowns and queens from the rodeo. This will be at Legion Park in downtown Sikeston.
Throughout the four days of rodeo, Stoner said a special video will be taped which will be sent to members of the 1140th Engineer Battalion now stationed in Iraq. "There are some guys in that group who have always helped us with rodeo and we want to share this year's events with them," said Stoner. The video will include tapes of the performances and video messages.
Also a banner made by the Charlie Company's support group can be signed by rodeo fans. The banner will be displayed on the troops' return to Sikeston.
According to Stoner, tickets are selling well and are still available. Tickets can be purchased at the box office on the rodeo grounds, through the Website, sikestonrodeo.com or by calling toll free 1-800-455-BULL or locally 471-7196.