Preparations underway for 65th ANNUAL rodeo

Saturday, July 8, 2017
Cody Rouse (front) and Tracy Scheman of Kiefner Brothers Inc. on Friday work on the new press box as part of the renovations of the Cattle Baron at the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo grounds. The annual event set for Aug. 9-12 is just a month away, and the Jaycees are working to ensure the venue is ready for its visitors. (Leonna Heuring, Staff)

SIKESTON -- In one month the 65th Annual Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo will ride into town.

And in that time, the Sikeston Jaycees will continue working to prepare for the town's largest fundraiser.

"Thirty days out -- the pressure starts building," said Craig Templeton, rodeo entertainment chairman.

A worker with Grover Mays Construction (left) on Friday watches as part of a steel staircase frame is lowered on to the ground where new seating is being installed as part of renovations at the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo grounds. The annual event set for Aug. 9-12 is just a month away, and the Jaycees are working to ensure the venue is ready for its visitors. Looking on is Tracy Scheman of Kiefner Brothers Inc. (Leonna Heuring, Staff)

Jaycees are double-checking their individual and committee responsibilities and offering help wherever needed to ensure this year's event is a success, Templeton said.

"Our guys are really putting in the time and hard work to prepare for this year's rodeo. They've spent time away from their families to make this happen," Templeton said.

Set for Aug. 9-12, this year's rodeo will feature some of the nation's top cowboys and include this year's entertainers, Brothers Osborne, Wednesday; Dylan Scott, Thursday; Chris Young, Friday; and David Nail, Saturday.

"We're completing our Cattle Baron project with a new set of seats and a party deck on top," said 2017 rodeo general chairman Blake Wethington.

Construction will be completed before this year's rodeo, he said.

"There's always a lot of work to prepare for the rodeo," Wethington said, adding new pens were built and a fence replaced along Ingram Road.

Both Templeton and Wethington said they're excited about this year's fresh changes and the entertainment lineup.

"Chris Young is returning after visiting three years ago," Templeton said. "We anticipate it to be a very large crowd and tickets sales are indicating it's going to be a large night."

Templeton said the Jaycees expect good-sized crowds each of the four nights.

"Dylan Scott been on the radio a lot lately," Wethington noted. "The Brothers Osborne won a lot of music awards in the fall. David Nail is from Kennett, and he's a local guy so we're excited to have him here."

And for the first time, the Budweiser Clydesdales will make appearances at the rodeo.

"This is a big deal. You see them parade around Busch Stadium and now they will be in your back yard," Templeton said of the Clydesdales.

Wethington agreed.

"The plan is, weather pending, for the Clydesdales to be at the rodeo on Wednesday and Thursday. They'll come down to the rodeo grounds and make a lap in the arena," Wethington said.

On Wednesday and Thursday the public will be welcome to observe the Clydesdales, which will be set up at the Sikeston Sports Complex.

A Clydesdale and the Budweiser Dalmatian are also slated to attend the lunch with the rodeo clowns on Friday at the former Bootheel Golf Club building.

"People can take pictures there. It will be like a meet-and-greet,"

The Clydesdales are expected to be in the rodeo parade, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Sikeston Kindergarten Center and ends in downtown Sikeston.

The bull-riding, social media sensation Dale Brisby is also scheduled to return to this year's rodeo.

"Dale has a huge following," Templeton said. "People really, really loved him."

Last year the Jaycees handed Brisby the keys to its Snapchat account and fans loved it, according to Templeton.

"He brings a little comedic side to the rodeo plus he shows what we do and behind the scenes of the rodeo. He breaks the mold a little bit for us and we give him the keys to our social media, and people like that stuff," Templeton said of Brisby.

Long-round bullfighting will be Thursday with short-round bullfighting taking place Friday night. The Behind the Chutes tour which gives the public behind-the-scenes access to the rodeo will return on Friday.

The Domestic Violence Awareness Night will once again be on Saturday when attendees are encouraged to wear purple.

"We're going to continue our purple night with raising awareness against domestic violence. We also supporting first responders and will have a salute to police and law enforcement paramedics," Wethington said.

Before the rodeo can begin, it must have its royalty. The coronation of the Junior Miss and Miss Rodeo queens will be at 7 p.m. July 22 at the Sponsors Building on the Rodeo grounds. The Little Mr. and Miss Western contest will be 2:30 p.m. July 23 at the Sponsors Building on the Rodeo grounds.

The Jaycees noted the rodeo is their largest fundraiser, which puts money back into the community.

"The more money we raise, the more we can give back," Templeton said. "The more you come out and support, the more they'll be able to give."

Tickets are available online and at the rodeo ticket office from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

"We have tickets available for each night," Templeton said. "We know what happens; people wait and we always tell them to push and get them online and at the box office."

However, Templeton urged fans to get their tickets now.

"Ticket sales are really, really starting to pick up and we're selling more and more each day," Templeton said. "I encourage people to beat the rush and get the seating you prefer -- and not what's left."

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