(photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
"We're just big kids at heart," Missourians Coordinator Mike Staggs said. "Everybody played cowboy and Indian games growing up. That's kind of what we're doing."
Missourians, a cowboy reenactment group, officially formed last spring when they made their first appearance at Morehouse. Soon after, they performed shows at other towns and festivals in Matthews and Oran. Saturday will be the group's second appearance at the rodeo.
The reenactments reflect life during the 1870s, Staggs said. It's like the old cowboy movies everybody's seen, he said.
"It's geared to the family. There's no alcohol or foul language," Staggs assured.
One important aspect of each show is the promotion of gun safety, Staggs said. "Before every show, we talk about gun safety to the crowd," he explained. "We tell them that guns are not toys, and we use blanks in all of our guns." During production, guns are loaded with blanks and prepared by three people, which guarantees safety, he added.
Putting on the show requires a lot of hard work and time, Staggs said. Rehearsing takes up much of the group's preparation time as well as building their own sets and making their own costumes. Staggs and the rest of the members want to look so authentic that they've researched the clothes and setting of the time period depicted in their skits.
The one thing they can't do on their own is control the weather. As everyone knows, it gets a little hot around these parts this time of year.
"It was just as hot back in that time," Staggs said. "Surely we can tough it out for a day." He laughed, "And we drink a lot of water."
Staggs admitted one skit resembles the infamous O.K. Corral gunfight, but he won't go into anymore details. He doesn't want to spoil the fun. However, there is one piece of information Staggs will reveal: Someone always dies at the end of every show.
Missourians is a charitable organization. Any proceeds are donated to area organizations like the Kenny Rogers Children's Center, Staggs said.
Another bonus of performing is the positive feedback from the audience. "The best thing is seeing the kids' faces when we come around," Staggs said. "They say, 'Mr. Cowboy, can we take a picture?' It just makes everything worth it."
The show begins around 1 or 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo grounds behind the arena.
Civil War reenactors will also perform Saturday. Staggs predicts the Missourians will take turns performing with the Civil War reenactors. Admission is free.
"We want to take the crowd back in time to the Old West, as we feel it happened," Staggs said. "It's an action-oriented comedy. I don't think they'll get bored."
SIKESTON -- The Jaycee Rodeo Parade starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce and will wind through the Sikeston Sports Complex ending at the Sikeston Jaycee Rodeo Grounds.
After the parade, there will be a petting zoo, jumping space and pony rides for the kids at the rodeo grounds. The Missourians, a cowboy reenactment group, along with Civil War reenactors will perform.
Also, the James Bayou Catfish Cookers will cook their famous fish starting at noon. Tickets are $7.50 each with the proceeds to benefit the Sikeston Area Humane Society.
For more information call John Rowland at (573) 471-7100.