Saddle up for Saturday's Highridge Rodeo
Yee-haw! It’s Highridge Rodeo time again.
So get saddled up for the rodeo that just seems to get bigger each year, attracting competitors as young as two to cowboys in their 60s and much over.
It’s the tenth edition of the annual amateur event which saw 99 contestants in 2003 and 226 in 2010. Numbers rose in 2011 and are expected to jump again this year.
“We have been getting bigger and bigger every year,” said Highridge Agriculture Society president Calvin Young last Thursday.
Gates open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with admission costing $5 per person aged six and over. There will be a concession booth all day.
The rodeo starts at 1 p.m. and will feature a wide range of events, including bareback, saddle bronc, bull riding, wild cow milking, ladies barrels (17 and over), ladies steer undecorating (17 and over), team roping, tie down roping and cow riding.
Younger cowboys will have plenty of opportunity to show off their skills in such categories as junior steer (14 and under), junior barrels (11-16), junior steer undecorating (11-16), junior breakaway roping (16 and under) and a wild pony race (10-14).
Then there are events for the very young: pee wee barrels (10 and under), calf riding (10 and under) and mutton bustin’ (six and under).
As usual the Tri-County Saddle Series is expected to provoke plenty of interest. Riders collect points at several rodeos: Long Island Lake (June 9), Highridge, Rocky Ridge (Aug. 3 and 4), and Smith (Sept. 1 and 2).
The points are tallied for the series, with the winner getting a saddle as a prize.
Organizers are hoping for good weather, which will encourage as many spectators as possible to attend. But they stress cowboys will be performing, come rain or shine.
“Even if it’s pouring, we will go ahead,” said Young, who has a personal interest in two of the events.
His daughter Melissa will be riding a cow in the seniors category, while six-year-old grandson Branden plans to participate in mutton bustin’.
The rodeo is expected to end at about 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. Afterwards there will be a dance at 10 p.m. featuring music by Spruce Grove band, My Dog Sam. Tickets cost $15, which includes a beef dinner. No minors admitted.
“Usually the dance doesn’t finish until 2 a.m. or 3 a.m.,” said Young.
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