Memorial Day is nothing without the annual rodeo put on by the Bandera Pro Rodeo Association, and this year’s Memorial Day Weekend Stampede rodeos on May 27-29 had perfect weather and stands filled with visitors and locals alike.
When the grand entry started off at 8:00 PM, the group eagerly leaned forward to catch every minute of the action
Rodeo is considered an extreme sport, and the crowd got a taste of that action on Friday night.
The night started off with a very sedate grand entry where riders circled the arena and waved to spectators, but after that came the mutton bustin’. The Justin Company sponsored the event, and it was a lot of fun.
Little ones proceeded to try to ride sheep for the traditional eight seconds. It was great entertainment as one little rider slid to his left and his sheep went down with him.
There were plenty of “daddies, and pawpaws” in the arena to help the little buckaroos get up and get dusted off after their ride. A few tears, but mostly shy smiles peaked through as the junior cowboys got their first taste of rodeo.
The field of steer wrestling, sponsored by Bandera Wine and Spirits, was a little slim with only four riders for the night. Their skill, however, was not to be denied as they slid off fast horses to grab steers around the neck and bring them to the ground.
Team roping came up next in the program with ten entries of teams of two trying to rope a steer and then catch its feet and bring it to a stop. American Water Well Services sponsored this event. These contestants were from all over the Southwest. Even though the energy was high, not every team was able to get their steer. The teams came out of the break away area at high speed with lassos flying.
Bareback riding was sponsored by Coors Light. The riders sat the horses in the chutes ready to take a ride on the back of dynamite. The horses all brought their best game as well as the riders as who leaned back and tried to stay on for 8 seconds. The livestock, provided by the Rafter G Rodeo company all came to perform and was quality rodeo stock. Their brief time in the arena gave them a stage to shine and show their best bucks.
Barrelman Cody Sosebee brought his comedy to the audience as a break from the action. He entertained the crowd and brought one visitor down from the crowd to “teach them how to ride a bronc.” The pretty young lady was from out of state, and he provided her a large pool toy to “ride” for the crowd. She bounced around, much to the delight of fans, as she imitated a bronc ride for fun. Thank you to the Bandera Electric Coop for sponsoring this delightful comedian to lighten the hearts of the crowd.
Next up was the saddle bronc riding. This event, sponsored by local silversmith and jeweler, Hy Ho Silver, was just as wild as it sounded. There to capture all the action was the Cowboy Channel App Online. For those who couldn’t attend the rodeo, they could watch all the action on the app. The saddle broncs were just as lively as the bareback broncs. They brought the action as the cowboys held on for the 8 seconds needed.
As a break, the Stuart Charitable Foundation sponsored a calf scramble. The fifty under ten entrants raced around the arena chasing a calf with an orange tie attached to its tail. The kids had fun, and the parents were pleased to see all that energy worked off of their kids as well. A prize of $30 was provided to the winner who proudly took it to the snow cone stand.
After the calf scramble, the crowd was treated to a patriotic presentation on the big screen that was a tribute to Memorial Day. The presentation was just the perfect touch to remind the crowd of the importance of the holiday.
A second round of mutton bustin’ was sponsored by the Justin Corporation which was followed by the tie down roping event. One of the entrants was Bandera local Michael Perry. He gave a great effort but could not quite connect with his yearling. The cowboys burst out of the gate ready to rope the steer, and then bring him to the ground where a short rope tied his legs to immobilize him. The Ray Wharton Ranch sponsored this event and the cowboys gave their best. Their enthusiasm was evenly matched by the steers' desire to get away.
Another comedy bit by Cody Sosebee helped the crowd loosen up for the final two events of the evening. The Bandera Electric Coop sponsored Sosebee’s performances and they provided just the right hint of levity for the evening.
One of the most popular events at any rodeo is barrel racing. This event was sponsored by Water Boyz of Bandera. The field of women racers was quite talented as they circled the barrels with speed and grace. Only a few were penalized for knocking a barrel over during their run. No hats flew off during runs, a mark of barrel racing pride!
The last and most anticipated event, bull riding, was sponsored by Lonestar Kawasaki. The bull riding field was the largest of the evening. Except for one bull who decided to take a nap break in his chute, the rest provided superior entertainment. The riders took care to prep themselves for serious rides. The bulls took it to the limit, bucking and spinning as the cowboys spent their eight seconds atop explosive packages of TNT. Rafter G has top notch bulls for this event. All the animals were healthy, energetic and full of contrariness!
The evening ended a little before ten o’clock and the crowd looked reluctant to go home. They slowly made their way out of the park with tales of cowboy daring, as they drove slowly to the 11st Street Cowboy Bar to extend their evening with a little dancing and liquid fun.