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Posted on February 16, 2018 at 8:26 AM by Michael Goens
Unleash your cowboy spirit. It’s rodeo time! Polish off your shiniest belt buckle and head for MHK!
Hey cowpokes, Wide Open Country website lists Texas and Kansas as the top places where cowboy culture is alive and well. And kickin’, we might add. You're darned tootin'! “Being a cowboy in Kansas means you just understand the values of hard work,” Wide Open writes in its 15-state rankings.
No disagreement here. The fun will be kickin’ all weekend at Weber Arena on Kansas State University campus. College of Agriculture has around 20 competition teams, one of which is the rodeo team and in seven decades of existence has hosted this event for 62 years.
You better believe the rodeo has a strong following. We’re talking 10,000 attendance strong for two days and two nights of hard-nosed, bronc-bustin’ action, Feb. 16-18. These cowboys understand the values of hard work and getting dirty, if that’s what it takes.
This will be a National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association-sanctioned event and bring 18 schools from the Great Plains Region. The 450 competitors in 10 events, some of which include barrel racing, bareback bronc riding, breakaway roping, bull riding, saddle bronc riding and steer wrestling.
“All sorts of people come out to watch our rodeo,” said K-State junior and rodeo team member Lauren Fedrick from Lancaster, an animal sciences and industry major and multi-year 4-H reining champ (western riding competitions).
“I love all the action at rodeos. There's so much going on and the competition is awesome!”
Barrel racing is Fedrick’s event, by many accounts rodeo fans’ most popular. At an early age, Fedrick competed through American Quarter Horse Association classes, and she rides her grandfather’s horse named Smokey Joe. In this event, three barrels are placed in triangular formation for competitors to navigate around and back into the chute with the quickest time.
The size of the course and surface composition dictate finishing times. Weber Arena features a dirt surface for the rodeo, and times around 15 seconds are standard in the barrel racing event.
“If it looks like a smooth ride then it probably means it’s a good time,” Fedrick said.
The rodeo opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday night with “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” promotion at Weber. Two Saturday sessions begin at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (Pack Weber With Purple), with Miss Rodeo K-State Coronation at 6:45. The top 10 times in each event advance to Sunday’s 1 p.m. finals on military appreciation day. Buy your tickets at Yee Haw Country Outfitters, K-State Union Bookstore and Orsheln’s Tractor Supply, Manhattan and Junction City stores.
Cowboys and cowgirls begin rolling into Manhattan with gear in tow Thursday evening. Rodeo fans can head to Yee Haw and Vanderbilt’s in Wamego for boots, hats and Western wear. Coupled with an afternoon basketball game at Bramlage Coliseum (noon tip), this will be a bustling Saturday around Manhappiness.
Dust off your boots, squeeze in a preparatory mechanical bull ride and pick out your favorite riders. Follow all the high intensity of college rodeo this weekend during the K-State Rodeo in Manhattan. It’ll be a buckin’ good time!
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