SIKESTON - The annual Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo was once again a great success, all who played a part in the planning of it and other community events agreed.
"I think it went really smooth," said Mike Conway, who was general chairman of the rodeo.
Conway continued to name several positive outcomes of this year's event. "I think the crowd really enjoyed the new scoreboard. It enhanced our show tremendously," he said. The scoreboard was good from a standpoint of both patrons and sponsors.
The entertainment was also great. "I heard nothing but compliments," Conway said.
He received quite a few compliments about the contestants, too. Their stock contractor, who has been attending the rodeo for the past 25 years, praised them before leaving. "He said it was the best rodeo he'd seen in Sikeston in a long time as far as cowboys," Conway said.
"It was hot," Conway said. But luckily, there weren't any heat-related issues, he added. Thanks to the early thinking of Sikeston Department of Public Safety officials, there were two heat release stations at this year's rodeo.
One of the tents had misting fans in it, while the other had a fan, said Capt. Mark Crocker of DPS. They have had other heat release stations in the past, but not to the same extent.
"The heat was bad, especially on Wednesday and Thursday," he recalled. "I heard pretty positive comments, and did notice people going under there to catch a break."
There were a few fights that DPS had to respond to and take appropriate actions, Crocker continued. But that's typical, especially with hot nights and crowds of people. "People are already irritable, and when you throw alcohol into the mix it boils into a fight," he said.
And while it took 30 to 45 minutes for traffic to clear each night following the performance, Crocker said it went exceptionally well, considering the amount of traffic.
"I think overall, the rodeo went pretty good," Crocker said.
Several other events took place during the rodeo last week, too. The Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored their 11th annual Redneck Barbecue at the Clinton Building on Saturday.
"It went great," said Kathy Medley, SACC administrative director. "We had a big crowd and it really was a wonderful day."
The food was excellent, and the cooking teams and public had a good time, with the various events to draw people to the barbecue. Some attractions included live music, the outdoor craft show, indoor quilt show and children's games and activities.
"Some came out for a specific event," Medley said. "The redneck dog show drew a crowd of its own."
The kidnap family was also a big hit once again this year, Medley noted. "They had a great time," she said of the Dallas family of four treated to a day filled with fun beginning with the barbecue, then box seats at the rodeo and a basket of gifts from area businesses and merchants.
Lunch with the clowns, an event of over 30 years, was popular event this year as well. "I thought it went very well," said David Friedman, member of the Downtown Merchants Association, which sponsored the lunch.
Hot dogs, sodas and potato chips could be purchased at the lunch in American Legion Park on Saturday and the kids enjoyed meeting the clowns. "They get a chance to visit with the clowns and talk to them and see them in person rather than go to the rodeo and just see them out in the arena," Friedman said.
Since there were also quite a few crafters in the park participating in the Cowboy Up! Arts Festival, Friedman said the events made for a successful weekend with quite a bit of traffic in downtown Sikeston.
"It's always good for downtown when you have traffic," he said.
There was also quite a bit of traffic at Linda's Western Store during the rodeo, where sales were brisk but smooth. Most of the customers were from out of town and bought rodeo attire such as hats and boots, said Linda West, owner.
She is looking forward to a jump in sales next weekend, too, when high school students are in town for the 4-H rodeo. "It's nothing like the big rodeo, but it helps," West said.
Local hotels and restaurants were busy during this year's rodeo. Both Lambert's and Ruby Tuesday reported having extra guests due to the rodeo.
"We had 110 percent for Friday and Saturday night," said Misty Jenkins, front desk clerk at the Super 8. "We did better than good."
While Jenkins admitted Wednesday and Thursday weren't as busy, that is normal, she assured. And for them, the weekend went smoothly.