2017-10-04 / Front Page

Round up for the rodeo

By Diana Royal

It’s time to watch some of the top competitors from across the world chase the cans and buck some bulls at the Hat and Spur Ranch Pro Rodeo.

The rodeo, which begins this Friday, Oct. 6, boasts not only the greatest cowboys and cowgirls but also a bucking stock that’s sure to make this fifth annual show one of the best yet. Competitors will be contending for more than $20,000 in cash prizes and a trip to the IPRA (International Pro Rodeo Association) finals in Oklahoma City. The Hat and Spur stop marks the tail-end of qualifying, and only the top 15 competitors in each of the eight categories will get a shot at the finals. Events include bareback bronc riding, bull riding, calf roping, cowgirl barrel racing, cowgirl breakaway roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and team roping.

Cowboy LeRoy Lane says the interest shown by the local community has been overwhelming. “Without the help of these businesses and sponsors, we couldn’t pull it off,” he said, “but because of them, we are expecting the best rodeo we have ever had. It takes great contestants and great bucking stock to put on an amazing performance – and we’ve got it all.”

With a laugh he added, “Don’t forget the clown,” and mentioned something about a fat suit in a bikini. “You really have to be there to get the full experience.”

Lane says rodeo is America’s oldest sport and reckons its popularity is due to the fact that there is something that appeals to everyone, young and old. “People come to a car race for the wrecks. Well, we have lots of wrecks,” he chuckled again, adding that many of the show’s bucking bulls and roping horses are valued in the six-digit class and make competitors’ bailouts anything but easy and elegant.

Last year, more than 200 contestants traveled to Waynesboro to compete, including not just cowboys and cowgirls from across the U.S. but from Canada and Australia as well.

“I get to cowboy every day of my life, and it’s a pleasure to help others with cattle and horses,” Lane said. “I feel really lucky and blessed, and now I get another chance to share some of the Western lifestyle with the community. I hope everyone will come out. These days get long and the nights get shorter, but it’s worth it. We are going to give you a great experience.”

The rodeo will take place this Friday and Saturday, Oct. 6-7, at the Hat and Spur Ranch located just off Highway 25 South. Gates will open at 6 p.m. and the rodeo starts at 7:30. Tickets can be purchased online at www.hatandspurranch.com. They are $12 in advance and $15 at the gate. Children 6 and under get in free. Gates open at 6 p.m.

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