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All ready for rodeo

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

(Photo)
Cowboys participate during Slack Night competition Tuesday before the start of the 55th Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo at the Sikeston Rodeo Grounds
(Photos by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
Events begin today

SIKESTON -- The blistering heat this week is not an oddity for the 55th Annual Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo, which begins at

7 p.m today and continues each night through Saturday at the Sikeston Rodeo Grounds.

Not only has the heat been turned up in regard to recent temperatures, but it's also on the cowboys of the Great Lakes Circuit, which will bring many competitors to the Jaycee Rodeo.

The Bootheel Rodeo consists of seven categories -- bareback riding, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding, team roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing and bull riding.

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A rider guides her horse around a barrel during Slack Night competition Tuesday at the Sikeston Rodeo Grounds
The bareback riding event brings to life some of the most exciting action in rodeo. Staying on top his horse for eight seconds is the key to the event for the rider. He also has to keep his feet in the correct position during the entire ride. Disqualification is the verdict if the rider attempts to touch his equipment or the animal with his free hand during any point during his eight-

second ride. Two judges award totals to the rider and the horse, up to 50 points for each on the ride.

Tie-down roping features local cowboys in Chad Tibbs, of Sikeston, and Kadin Boardman, of Jackson.

The event, also known as calf-roping, entails the rider and his horse working as a team to save seconds that in the end determine their final score. The rider first ropes the calf, then runs to the calf and pulls him down.

Then, he ties any of the three legs of the calf together as quickly as he can, and signals the judge that he has completed his task. The rider hops back on his horse to allow the calf to have some slack. If the calf happens to skip free within the next six seconds, then the run is disqualified.

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The lasso of a cowboy lands on the head of a steer during Slack Night exercises Tuesday
One of Sikeston rodeo's finest and classic events is saddle bronc riding. The animal attempts to buck off the rider in this event while the rider goes through the motions of spurring.

If the pair work together equally, then the score increases. As in bareback riding, the rider is disqualified if he touches the horse or any of his own equipment with his free hand.

The team-roping event, also known as the only true team event in rodeo, consists of the header roping the head of the steer, and the heeler roping the hind legs.

Points are taken off if only one leg is roped, or if the header leaves the chute too early to throw the first rope. The score is totaled when the two riders are facing each other with both of their ropes pulled tightly, with the steer right in the middle.

This event will showcase six local riders in Ty Ferrell, of Sikeston, John Paul Fowler, of Piedmont, Ben Ray, of Bertrand, Jason Stroup, of Gordonville, Troy Amoss, of Naylor and Pat Hunter, of Sikeston.

One of the toughest events in the rodeo is steer wrestling. In this event two cowboys work together to bring a steer down. The cowboy who is called a hazer keeps a steer on the path and from making a right-turn, while the cowboy called a bulldogger, grabs for the horns of the steer.

When he has the horns, the bulldogger jumps off his horse and digs his feet into the ground to stop his momentum of the steer. Then, the cowboy turns the steer and takes it to the ground. With a minimum weight of 450 pounds, the steers prove to be quite a match for any cowboy.

Another event that will showcase a lot of local talent is barrel-racing. Displaying talent from our local area will be Briana Reynolds, of Elsinore, Dusti Drew, of Poplar Bluff, Erika Boardman, of Jackson, the No. 6 money-

winning rider on the Great Lakes Circuit Patty White, of New Madrid, and No. 1 money-winning rider, Amanda Clayman, of Naylor.

In this event, the cowgirls will complete a cloverleaf pattern around three separate barrels, while attempting to cross the finish line without tipping a barrel or running in an incorrect pattern. This event is a high-speed event from start to finish.

Last, but certainly not least in the list of events at the Bootheel Rodeo, bull riding is considered to be the showcase attraction, In this event, it's man versus wild.

Weighing in at over one ton, the bulls in the bull riding competition often prove to be too much for riders, and often the eight-second ride ends early, sometimes in pain and broken bones for the rider.

The object of the event is to sit down, tie down and hold on for dear life for eight seconds while a bull bucks uncontrollably.

Riders use their free hand, their leg actions and their body positions to factor into their score. A rider cannot touch the bull or any part of his equipment during the ride or disqualification occurs. One-half of the final score is determined by the rider's performance, and the other half is factored on the bull's effort in the ride.

For the first time, the Bootheel Rodeo can be seen on national television. The Outdoor Life Network (OLN), will be televising the event on Friday and Saturday nights. The network will be using six high-definition cameras to cover the event. The Bootheel Rodeo will be re-airing on OLN several times throughout the year.

With more than 430 contestants set to compete, the Bootheel Rodeo in 2007 will rise to the occasion as the Missouri's largest sanctioned rodeo, and also as one of the largest rodeos in the Midwest. The cowboys will be competing for more than $100,000 in the seven events.