LAWTON, OK (RNN Texoma) - More than 450 students practiced their roping and barrel racing skills at the Stephens County Expo Arena.
The ‘Rodeo Preview Day’ is unique to the Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo. It allows for area fourth graders to go into the arena, interact with contestants, stock contractors and rodeo queens while they lean about the sport of rodeo.
“We were really surprised that we have kids who have never gotten to touch a horse, or the kid that had never felt the hide of a cow or that didn’t know what spurs were or what chaps were,” said Joe Henderson, Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo Committee Chairperson. “So, we thought it would be a good idea to let kids have some hands-on experience with what actually happens at a rodeo and how it’s done.”
Three rodeo contestants from Comanche were on hand to help educate the younger generation about the sport.
“Rodeo goes back to tradition. It’s kind of the way the West was won. It all started on horseback at some point in time. It’s a good experience to get kids out, a little active and getting to be around animals and livestock,” said Ryan Jarrett, a tie-down roper.
“Always, always there’s a work ethic involved and if we can show them a little bit about our work ethic and if they can get into the agricultural side of things, that’s always a positive,” said Kylie Weast, a barrel racer.
“These little kids, they’re always looking for somebody to look up to and I figured it should be me,” said Colt Gordon, a saddle bronc rider. “I was one of those kids at one point.”
Now he and the other contestants are looking forward to competing in what is considered their hometown rodeo of sorts.
“This rodeo has been good to me every year I’ve come so I try to come in with a positive attitude and do what I need to do,” said Gordon.
“We get to see family and friends here that have followed you all year and you get to show off for your hometown so it’s really exciting,” said Weast.
“It’s always good to do good here and if the contestants do good here they get to move on down the road to Kissimmee, Florida and compete for bigger prize money,” said Jarrett.
The rodeo will start Thursday and last through Saturday. Performances kick off at 7:30 each night at the Stephens Count Fair Grounds.