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Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

PBR event will feature music, hospitality tent

Saturday, June 2, 2007

(Photo)
Sikeston Jaycee Ron Payne burns grass Thursday to prepare the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo grounds for the PBR
(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Live country music performances in Sikeston are usually associated with the August rodeo.

But the tunes will be hitting Sikeston a bit earlier this year, when an up-and-

coming Nashville duo -- Townsend and O'Donnell -- performs at the third annual Sikeston Jaycees Health Facilities Rehab PBR this Friday and Saturday. Committee members are trying something new by adding a hospitality tent featuring entertainment and drinks before and after both nights' performances by Professional Bull Riders.

"We figured everyone can come out early and unwind before the event starts," said Justin Wibbenmeyer, chairman of this year's event.

The idea came from other PBR events Jaycees have attended. "We're just trying something that's been done at bigger rodeos to try to keep people around," said co-chairman Eric Sadler. "That way they can mingle with other people and maybe get to meet some of the bull riders before and after the event."

Publicity chairman Cal Crader agreed. "We want people to come early and stay late. We'd love to have as many people out as we can," he said.

According to the band's MySpace page, www.myspace.com/

townsendodonnell, the duo plan to release a CD sometime this year.

Wibbenmeyer said they signed a record deal earlier this year.

Jaycees make changes such as these to build up their event and make it a bigger success. "We want to make it like the rodeo -- an every year event that the community gets used to," Sadler said. "Then we can afford to give more to the YMCA, Kenny Rogers (Children's) Center and other organizations."

For instance, the caliber of the 80 cowboys attending the PBR has grown since its first year. Forty of the top 45 bull riders in the world competed in the Saturday performance last year, Wibbenmeyer said.

Something that attracts a lot of bull riders is the purse size. "Since we've started our PBR, we've had the most added money for the cowboys to win for that weekend," Wibbenmeyer said. "So those guys have a chance of walking away with some pretty good money in their hands."

Sadler agreed. "We have the best bang for their buck," he said.

The community appears to be embracing the advances for what Wibbenmeyer called the second-largest sport in the world now, second only to NASCAR.

"We have sold more tickets to date than we did last year," Crader said. But there are still great seats available, he added, as only the cattle barracks have been sold out.

The PBR event is using a different stock contractor, Rafter H Rodeo Company from Texas, this year.

"We're trying to get bigger and better bulls to keep the crowd happy," Sadler said. "Bull riders are there to stay on the bull and make money, but everybody knows they like to see (the cowboys) get thrown off."

The Jaycees plan to dedicate this year's event to Matt Barnes, a former Jaycee who died in November of a heart attack at age 29. "We will have his parents here to let them know what the PBR really meant to Matt," Sadler said. "He was 100 percent on go with it from the get-go."

For the next week, Jaycees will be working hard to finish the preparations they've been working on since September. "Now it's where we're working every evening, seven days a week getting things ready," Crader said.

But the hard work now cuts down on some labor for the August rodeo.

Although there will still be mowing and cleanup to do, most of the facilities will be ready.

"It definitely helps," Crader said.

The third annual Professional Bull Riders event will be Friday and Saturday at the Rodeo Grounds. The hospitality tent opens at 4:30, gates open at 6:30, and the event begins at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now and will be available at the event. Box seats are $18 and assigned bleachers are $12.

For more, call 471-4295 or 1-877-472-5233 or go to www.sikestonrodeo.com