Junior Rodeo set for this weekend
August 3, 2012
The whole idea in junior rodeo is to foster the next generation of cowboys and cowgirls.
Think of it as the Little League for rodeo.
“It’s a sport where you can’t really just go out and do it,” said Roxanne Usher, organizer of this year’s Douglas County Junior Rodeo. “It takes a long time to break into it. That’s part of what we do.”
This year’s Douglas County Junior Rodeo is set for Saturday and Sunday, starting at 8 a.m. both day. Admission is free.
“The whole idea is to show a progression of the ranching lifestyle,” Usher said. “As a junior (6-9 years old), they compete in team roping with an adult who can help them with the cattle.
“Seniors (14-18) team rope with kids of the same age. The Pee Wees (5-under) start out taking a ribbon off a goat’s tail, the juniors tie the goat, the intermediates (10-13 years old) tie a calf and the seniors take it up another level.
“Over time, you learn the things you need to do to be able to compete in rodeo. A lot of these kids go on and compete in junior high and high school rodeo and then they see where they want to go from there.”
The Douglas County rodeo is one of several in Northern Nevada conducted during the summer months. Fernley hosted the area’s first such competition of the season last month. Other rodeos in Elko, Sparks, Fallon and Smith Valley round out the summer slate.
“There is a common ground among the kids that compete,” Usher said. “They get to see other kids doing the same thing they do. They get to know each other at these rodeos, and they root for each other. Of course they want to win, but there is a camaraderie between competitors. It’s not cut-throat.”
Junior rodeo is open to participants anywhere from toddlers up to age 18. Younger participants compete in events using stick horses just to get an feel for how events are formatted.
At age five, participants begin competing on live horses.
Usher said she expects more than 120 entries this weekend, competing in a variety of events including barrel racing, breakaway roping, steer daubing, team roping, steer roping, ribbon roping, tie-down roping, goat tying, sack roping, calf riding, steer riding, chute dogging, steer stopping, flag race, pole bending, figure 8 and calf tying.
“There will be kids from all over Northern Nevada,” Usher said.
For more information on the rodeo, visit douglascountyjuniorrodeo.com.