Scheduled for Aug. 7-10, the rodeo is just over a month away and is already looking like it may be the best yet. "We hope that everybody is as excited as we are," said Deke Lape, president of the Sikeston Jaycees. "We think it's going to be a great year."
In celebration of the 50th year of the rodeo, this year will feature some special events in addition to the old favorites.
The rodeo parade, scheduled for the Saturday before the rodeo on Aug. 3 "sort of kicks off the week," said Lape.
Participation in the parade had waned over the last few years but the time-honored opening event was brought back to life last year with a new route.
"We're going to have the same parade route as last year," said Randy Tuttle, general chairman for the rodeo.
The parade will start at the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce office, wind its way through the Sports Complex, and end at the rodeo grounds where a variety of attractions will be waiting from novelty stands to Civil War re-enactors "to get everybody charged and started up for the whole week of rodeo," said Tuttle.
The Missourians will put on "old western gunfight skits and things like that," said Tuttle. "We also will have a petting zoo, jumping space and pony rides there for the kids."
A catfish dinner prepared by the James Bayou Cookers will be available with proceeds going to the Sikeston Area Humane Society.
The rodeo itself starts Aug. 7 with entertainment by Alabama. "This is their farewell tour," said Tuttle. "They will not be touring next year. In 2003 they're going to retire.
"Then on Thursday we have Lonestar coming back for those who didn't get tickets last year and missed them," he continued. "Last year was the first year that they've been here."
Aug. 9 the featured performer will be Gary Allan. "He puts on an excellent, energetic show from what we've heard," said Tuttle. "Saturday night we close it up with Trace Adkins. This is probably our strongest lineup we've had."
In addition to the entertainment, the Jaycees have "something special planned" for each night, said Tuttle. "A tribute, more or less, to those who have dedicated their time and efforts to help put us where we are today."
Wednesday the Jaycees will honor their past presidents. Saturday former rodeo chairmen will be honored. "A couple of them are kind of secret," said Mike Conway, past president for the Jaycees. "Thursday and Friday we're going to have some special presentations."
Then, of course, there is the rodeo itself with top PRCA cowboys competing for over $100,000 in prize money in events such as bareback riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc, calf roping, bullfighting and bull riding.
Tuttle said the same livestock company used last year will once again supply the bulls, calves and horses for the events.
And the Jaycees would never forget to bring in the clowns. "We've got Rick Young coming back again," said Tuttle. "I believe this will be his 43rd rodeo with the Sikeston Jaycees."
The rodeo will end on a high note Aug. 10 with a day filled with things to do starting with a pancake breakfast scheduled from 8-10 a.m. in tents outside the Sikeston Depot. "It is a new event were going to do this year to celebrate 50 years of having the rodeo," said Conway.
The Jaycees are planning on serving around 300, according to Conway. Tickets are $3. "We're trying to break even," Conway said, but if the breakfast does raise some money it will be added to that raised by morning's other big event. "We're also holding a golf tournament," said Lape.
The golf tournament will be two-person scramble at the Sikeston Country Club. "Anybody can play," said Lape.
"Check in is from 8-8:30 a.m.," said Conway. "There will be a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m." The entry fee is $100 per team. Prizes will be awarded.
Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. "It benefits injured cowboys," said Lape.
The Lunch with the Clowns, a rodeo week tradition, is also scheduled for Aug. 10. "That's actually sponsored by the downtown merchants," said Lape.
"Ticket sales overall are excellent so far," said Tuttle.
"And it goes for a good cause as most people know," Lape added.
"It is special to us that we've been able to do an event for 50 years straight and make the donations back to the community," said Tuttle. "It's a great honor to be associated with it."
For more information visit www.sikestonrodeo.com on the Internet or call 471-7196 or 1-800-455-BULL (2855).