SIKESTON -- With this year's Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo set to kick off this week, top talent from around the country will once again descend upon the area looking for their share of the prize money.
It will be the handful of local riders, however, that likely will draw the biggest support of the crowd.
That includes Sikeston native Ty Ferrell, who enters this year's rodeo with a new team roping partner and hopes of improving on last year's finish that dropped him out of the prize money.
"This year we're real excited," Ferrell said. "It pays a lot of money and the best of the best are going to be there, including the top, probably 20 or 30, teams in the whole PRCA.
"You're always hoping for better results (than last year) unless you win the rodeo and then once you win one you want to go back and win it again."
After a less than stellar performance in last year's event, Ferrell has spent this year teamed up with new partner Brant Sprurgin. It's a partnership that Ferrell said has worked out well.
"Brant has been doing this for a long time," he said. He's actually won the Great Lakes Circuit, I think, three or four times and I've won it once back in 2005.
"Things have going real good this year," Ferrell added. "Last weekend we were at Janesville, Wis., and we won a rodeo up there."
Another local stalwart is barrel racer Carrie Thomas who, after placing seventh in her event in back-to-back years, is hoping to move up in the standings.
"I hope to do better than I did last year," Thomas said. "I don't want to sound like I wasn't happy with last year, but I'd like to improve."
This will be Thomas' second year riding her horse, Rita, with whom she ran a time of 16.51 in what she said was muddy conditions.
"She was a little sore last year, but she feels pretty healthy this year," Thomas said of her horse. "I actually entered for slack because she did so well in it last year."
Slack will take place on Monday and Tuesday which counts in the standings along with any other night of the rodeo, only without the crowds.
Other locals competing in the rodeo will include Sikeston's Chad Tibbs, who will participate in the calf roping event and Brent Menz, from Delta, will be in the bronc riding event as well.
The 59th Annual Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo will kick off on Wednesday.