By Frank J. Buchman
It’ll be a celebration of 45 years of professional rodeo in Manhattan.
“The Kaw Valley Rodeo is Thursday through Saturday evenings, July 22-23-24, in Wells Arena at CiCo Park,” according to Brenda Area, Kaw Valley Rodeo Association secretary.
In conjunction with the Riley County Fair, rodeo action starts each evening at 8 o’clock, with the gate opening at 6:30.
Sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), the rodeo has many generous supporters headed by corporate sponsor Briggs Auto Group, Area acknowledged.
Each performance features bareback-bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle-bronc riding, tie-down roping, and bull riding for the cowboys. Barrel racing and breakaway roping are planned for cowgirls, with breakaway being for the first time at the rodeo.
Rafter H Rodeo Company, Hulbert, Oklahoma, is returning as the stock contractor, and the announcer this year will be Davie Kimm from Lakeville, Minnesota.
Bull fighters are Ethan McDonald, Louisburg, and Tyler Dahl, Barnsdall, Oklahoma. Keith Isley from Goldston, North Carolina, will serve as barrel man during the bull riding.
Thursday, July 22, is Military Appreciation Night with a picnic at 5:30, for those serving for the nation’s freedom. “Military and families will get in free with a ticket and be recognized for their service,” Area said.
Kids 12 and under will also get in free to Thursday’s performance with a non-perishable food donation brought to the rodeo. “Donations benefit the Flint Hills Breadbasket,” Area said, “because no one should go hungry.
“Good news for parents of little cowboys and cowgirls ages four and under get in free each night,” Area added.
Special events have also been planned especially for the children. The calf scramble each night is for the youth eight to 11-years-old with no flip flops or sandals allowed.
“There’ll also be mutton busting, for kids five to seven weighing under 70 pounds, with signup before the rodeo performance,” Area said.
Friday, July 23, has been designated as Tough Enough To Wear Pink Night, with activities to increase cancer awareness and promote cancer research.
Finale performance Saturday evening, July 24, has been designated for presentations of the Brummett Award and Appreciation Recognition.
“This award is in memory of Bob Brummett, who was one of the original board members who helped bring professional rodeo to Manhattan in 1975,” Area said. “The tradition continues and an award has been presented each year to those who show continued support and dedication to the Kaw Valley Rodeo.”
“In 1976, when the Riley County Fair Board needed evening entertainment, a group of rodeo enthusiasts looked into bringing their sport to Manhattan,” Area reflected. “A fairgrounds arena, established through a federal grant, provided the location, and organizing the rodeo was soon underway.
“Today, more four decades later, the Kaw Valley Rodeo continues to bring cowboys, cowgirls, champion livestock and rodeo fans, young and old, together each summer at the Riley County Fair for Manhattan’s premier outdoor summer sporting event in Wells Arena.
“We’ll see you there,” Area invited.
Randy Holle serves as the rodeo president, with Blake Area as vice president. Jessica Holle is the treasurer.
Other directors include Ryan Borg, Neil Boyce, Brice Brummett, Becky Watts Goff, Dustin Holle, Zach Richard, Garrett Wilson, Sami Borg, and Donna Hartmann.
At Annual Kaw Valley Rodeo In ManhattanBreakaway roping for cowgirls is a new attraction planned at this year’s Kaw Valley Rodeo in Manhattan.