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Rodeo hopefuls start early with Lil’ Buckers PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 19 May 2017 09:48

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Rodeo returning June 3



By ROBERT PIERCE

• Leader & Times



For years, rodeos have been a tradition on the High Plains, and while it is somewhat of a mainstay already in Seward County, the sport is experiencing even more growth in recent years.

Joining the slate of local rodeos in recent years have been the addition of the Seward County PRCA, typically taking place in August, and last year, the local Rodeo Committee added an event for younger pokes.

The first edition of the Rank Lil Buckers rodeo in Seward County took place in April 2016, and despite heavy rainfall leading to muddy conditions, Rodeo Committee member Renee Haralson said the event still had some good results.

“We had more people than we thought were going to be out there, but it wasn’t near what we thought it would be because the rain had come,” she said. “You still had competitors. It didn’t hurt that side of it. We just didn’t have the people out there we were hoping would come if it would’ve been nice.”

This year, Haralson said the event has been moved to June in hopes that better weather will be in place. The rodeo will take place at 5 p.m. June 3 at the rodeo arena at the Seward County Fairgrounds.

One of the sponsors for the Rank Lil Buckers rodeo is the local PRCA Rodeo, and the other, the Southwest Kansas Board of Realtors (SWKSBOR) is helping to make the event free of charge, with the help of a donation.

The SWKSBOR is accepting two canned goods as admission to the rodeo, and the cans collected will go to benefit the food cupboard at Genesis Family Health.

“As individual realtors, you will find many agents and brokers involved in numerous community activities ranging from service organizations like Kiwanis, Lions, and Rotary to Pancake Day, the Seward County Historical Society, Stepping Stone Shelter, League of United Latin American Citizens, Chamber of Commerce and others too numerous to mention,” said SWKSBOR Past President Gary Classen.

Classen added the realtors felt that they should ban together to do a project that would benefit the community in some manner.

“As realtors, we want people to know that we value them and their business, but also their friendships,” he said. “In bringing an event to town like this, it benefits families as a whole.”

Realtor Karem Gallo-Garcia said the board of realtors chose Genesis Family Health because it provides medical help, dental health, behavioral health and support services for the community.

“This is primarily based upon a person’s income on a sliding scale,” she said. “All of their programs are designed to improve the lives and health status of the individuals and families they serve, thus building a stronger community. By doing something to help strengthen those organizations that help community members, we are doing our part in giving back and assisting the community in which we live and work.”

Haralson said bringing the realtors on board was important, as is bringing more events such as Rank Lil Buckers to Liberal.

“We do the PRCA, which is the adults, which is great, but this one is geared for the kids,” she said. “The realtors are trying to make this one even more for the kids. We’ve got some of the churches. They’re sponsoring free popcorn, free sno cones, free cotton candy, water. Everything that’s connected will be free once they get past the two cans in the door.”

The June rodeo provides an opportunity for young people ages 6 to 14 to participate in actual rodeo events such as bareback bronc riding, bull riding and saddle bronc riding. There will be three divisions of each category at the rodeo.

The event is a preliminary event to the regional finals, which will take place in October, also in Liberal. That event will determine who will go on to the finals in Las Vegas in December in conjunction with the National Finals Rodeo.

“It’ll be the central regional finals for the mini-saddle bronc and mini-bareback going to Vegas to the NFR,” said Jeff Louderback of Rank Lil Buckers. “There should be a little over 100 contestants.”

Louderback said most of the contestants in the October event will come from not just outside of the area but from all over the country as well.

“They’ll come from Salt Lake, Wisconsin, Phoenix, Houston,” he said. “I’m going to say 99 percent of them are out of town.”

Haralson said that event is made even bigger by the people who will be coming to Liberal with the contestants.

“Since the majority of them are under age, they’re going to be bringing parents and grandparents,” she said. “It’s a two-day show, so they all have to spend the night at least once.”

Louderback added another piece of significance to the October rodeo.

“There’s three regional finals in the United States, and one of them’s here,” he said.

In addition to the June rodeo, on June 2, there will be a free clinic for the first 10 kids at the rodeo arena. The clinic will start at 5 and run until sundown.

“If there’s somebody local that would like to come out and give it a shot and try it, they’ll have everything there to put them on an animal and see whether it’s something they want,” Haralson said.

Haralson said one young person actually came to last year’s clinic and has become a rodeo participant.

“We’re kind of excited to get some more of the local kids involved,” she said.

While rodeo continues to grow locally, Haralson said the Rodeo Committee would like to see even more happening in Southwest Kansas with the sport.

“The Seward County PRCA wants more stuff in Liberal, more options to use the facility out there,” she said. “The county commissioners have been really good. They’ve been working with us to make improvements out there every year.”

The Rank Lil Buckers rodeo is for ages 6 to 14, but October’s regional final will be for ages 18 and younger. 

The Friday clinic at the June rodeo is for ages 14 and younger. To register for the clinic or the rodeo itself, call Shelby at 620-391-2069. Books will close May 26 for entries.

The Rank Lil Buckers Rodeo will begin at 5 p.m. June 3 at the rodeo arena. Gates will open at 4 p.m.

“There will be lots of fun for all ages with games and activities as well as various kinds of carnival type foods – all free,” Haralson said.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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