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Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

Youth ready to shine at rodeo

Friday, August 19, 2005

(Photo)
Andrew Cowger, a Scott County 4H Rodeo Club member, rides a bull.
SIKESTON - This weekend is the time to shine for young rodeo contestants.

The Scott County 4-H Rodeo Club is sponsoring their annual rodeo Saturday at the Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo grounds.

Contestants ages 8 through 18 from eight counties will participate, competing in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, calf touching, calf roping, breakaway roping, calf riding, steer riding and bull riding.

The 4-H rodeo is just a week after the Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo, which pumps up several local contestants, admitted 16-year-old Mamie Williams of Sikeston, who competes in the barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying and breakaway roping events.

"I'll be watching the contestants at the Jaycee Rodeo and it makes me want to get out there and do it," she said. The daughter of Rick and Michelle Williams, she has been participating in 4-H rodeo for the past four years.

Each summer, a group of eight counties, including Carter County and Cape Girardeau County, get together and each county sponsors a rodeo for 4-H members. Contestants from 4-H rodeo clubs in any of the counties belonging to this group are invited to compete in each rodeo, Mamie explained.

Since 4-H is the first rodeo many compete in, it helps kids learn the sport and pick up the skills needed at a higher level, said John Anderson, Scott Country 4-H Rodeo Club leader. "It teaches them responsibility, leadership and sportsmanship," he said.

Several who have participated in 4-H rodeo in the past have gone on to be quite successful, Anderson added. "Numerous have gone on to college rodeo," he said. "About half compete in high school and we've had some who have won in Missouri State rodeo and finished in the top 5 nationally."

While the contestants have individual preparation for each rodeo by practicing for their events, they have some extra duties when their club is hosting the event. "It takes a lot of work - there's a lot of behind the scenes activity getting everything ready," Anderson said. For the most part, the 4-H members and their parents run the rodeo.

"We have to prepare the grounds, help open the gates, set out the barrels and do things like that," Mamie added. "It's a busy weekend."

Anderson praised the Sikeston Jaycees for their help in putting on the rodeo, from letting them use to grounds, to helping with groundwork and concessions. "The Jaycees help us tremendously," he said.

For the members of the Scott County 4-H Rodeo Club, their organization is like a big family, Mamie said. "I pretty much knew (how to rodeo) before I joined, but if you join and aren't real sure, other people will show you. Everybody gets together and helps everybody out," she said, adding that members also give each other car rides, doing anything to help out one another.

"It's very family-oriented," Anderson agreed. "They share equipment and some kids have built some strong friendships within the 4-H."

For those interested in joining the Scott County 4-H Rodeo Club, enrollment is in January, and members are required to attend monthly meetings until September. Prospective members can contact Anderson at 472-3936 for more information.

The club invites everyone to come out and watch them rodeo. "We like it when a lot of people come," Mamie said. "Its not a big crowd, but it's an OK crowd (that usually comes)."

Anderson agreed. "That's our only opportunity to make money," he said. The funds they raise are also used to pay for the stock, clowns and announcer at the rodeo.

Slack, the preliminary events for the weekend, will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, with the performance scheduled for 7 p.m.