BY MELANIE BUCK –
The 63rd Annual Polk County Rodeo and Rodeo Parade are fast approaching. The celebration will kick off on Thursday, August 11th with the parade and will conclude on Saturday night, August 13th at the Andy Risenhoover Arena at the Polk County Fairgrounds.
The Fair and Rodeo Association are encouraging participation in the annual Rodeo Parade that will begin at 5 p.m. on Thursday at the old Mena Middle School parking lot and will continue down Mena Street. Each participant riding in the parade will receive free admission into the rodeo Thursday night.
Organizer Wendy Strother also said that if you wish to not participate in the parade but would like to bring a horse and ride in the Grand Entry Thursday night, you will receive a discounted entry fee of $2. Thursday night is also Senior Night at the rodeo and all senior citizens will gain entry for $3.
The rodeo promises to be full of action this year, with new and old events. Strother said there will be two calf scrambles nightly for ages 6 & under and ages 7 – 12 with winners receiving cash prizes.
There will also be mutton bustin nightly at 7:30 for little cowboys and cowgirls 60 pounds and under. Participants will need to enter the contest by 7:15 p.m. each night.
New this year will be free-style bullfighting. There will be three contestants on Thursday, three on Friday, and the top three will be welcomed back for the championship fight on Saturday night.
This year, Jeff ‘Jackrabbit’ Harris will be the act for the rodeo. He’s a funnyman from Fort Worth, TX that will bring great entertainment to the arena. There will be miniature bareback riding nightly as well. This will be a closed contest, as the contestants have already been chosen.
Other nightly events will include: bareback riding, calf roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, ranch bronc riding, ladies’ breakaway roping, team roping, ladies’ barrel racing, junior barrels, and bull riding.
On Friday, August 12th, the 15th Annual Handi-Capable Rodeo will begin at 9:30 a.m. This event is free to public, and if anyone wants to participate, it’s also free.
The Rodeo Royalty will be introduced on Saturday night. There also will be Red Bluff Buckles given to all event winners on Saturday night. The Fair and Rodeo Association will also have a program giveaway, with specially marked programs. The Lucky Program Winners will receive sacks of feed donated from local stores.
The annual rodeo dance will be presented on Saturday night after the last bull bucks. The dance is held in the air-conditioned commercial building with local band Polk 74 providing the music. Entry fee is $5 for singles and $7 per couple.
Strother wants to remind everyone that their prices remain the same and there are no advanced ticket sales. Entry fees into the rodeo are $7 for adults, children 6-12 are $5, and ages 5 & under are free. Concessions will be available. There will be vendors set up with jewelry booths and more so if you want to come early, you can shop, eat, and watch mutton bustin’. The rodeo action begins at 8:30 nightly. For any questions, contact Wendy Strother at 394-5592.