|Pro rodeo set to go Thursday outdoors|
|Local Content - Local Sports|
|Written by Greg Price|
|Wednesday, 13 July 2011 14:40|
Go big or go home.
That motto certainly could apply to the 74th annual Taber Pro Rodeo, which starts its outdoor show on Thursday and runs until Saturday.
â€œWe decided we needed to add a little extra to help boost our attendance. I think itâ€™s going to be a very exciting year this year,â€ said Barry Jensen, president of the Taber Pro Rodeo Association.
The extras are many this year, besides the usual solid stable of rodeo fare. There will be horse-pulling contests and lawn-mower races on Saturday. Entertainment will include The Lee Taylor Band on Friday night and a hypnotist on Saturday, to go with beer gardens being open all three days of the rodeo. The Crazy Cowgirls will once again be doing trick riding also. A long-dormant practice of choosing a rodeo queen will be revisited this year.
â€œWe havenâ€™t had one (rodeo queen) for years. We thought it would be nice to start up the tradition again,â€ said Jensen. â€œWe wanted to reconnect with the history of the rodeo.â€
Saturdayâ€™s slate will also feature a pared-down version of one of the biggest draws of rodeo. Along with the regular bull riders, there will be mini bull riders.
â€œThey are mini bulls, and these boys ride them, but they buck as hard as the big bulls,â€ said Jensen. â€œItâ€™s sort of the same as your steer riders, but theyâ€™ll be riding bulls.â€
While the mini bulls with younger riders will be a delight for spectators on Saturday, the bullsâ€™ big brothers will be the usual sight to see as well.
â€œItâ€™s Kesler stock, so you know itâ€™s going to be good. They have that Born to Buck program up there and they breed all their own stock,â€ said Jensen. â€œBoy, they do buck. They are the number-one stock contractor in the world, so you canâ€™t get much better than that.â€
Last year there were cowboys from as far away as Texas at the rodeo and this yearâ€™s draw will draw cowboys from across Canada and the U.S.
The pro rodeoâ€™s draw this year for Saturdayâ€™s gate will be aided by the Taber Chamber of Commerce, which decided to move Taberâ€™s annual parade from May to the pro rodeo weekend. Weather concerns were the biggest issue for the chamber as it cited the move and according to long-term forecasts as of Monday, it looks like the parade will have no such weather concerns for Saturday as the parade kicks off at 11 a.m.
While Thursdayâ€™s rodeo slate has a 60-per-cent chance for showers, the expected high is still 25 degrees Celsius. Sunny skies are expected Friday and Saturday with highs of 25 and 26, respectively.
â€œThe chamber looked to change their parade date and we were lucky enough that they chose our weekend. We are very grateful and pleased that they have done that,â€ said Jensen. â€œWe hope it works out as a success for them.â€
The pro rodeo organizing committee has been working diligently to make the 74th offering of the pro rodeo one of the best ever.
â€œWhen we finish up this year, after a month weâ€™ll start planning for next year,â€ said Jensen. â€œWithout the committee members that we got, this wouldnâ€™t happen.â€
Gates open for the pro rodeo at 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and at noon after the parade on Saturday. Pro rodeo competition begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Admission is $15 for general admission and $10 for seniors and kids five to 12 years old. Kids four and under are admitted free.
The rodeo grounds are located one-and-a-half miles north of Highway 3 on Highway 864 (Park Road).