Rodeo has positive impact on community

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Itís that time of year again when Sikeston will take on a look of the old west with people adorning cowboy hats and cowboy boots.

The influx of cowboy hats can only mean one thing ó the rodeo is in town. Personally Iím not a fan of the sport. The idea of trying to wrestle a calf to the ground or watching someone ride a horse around a bunch of barrels doesnít excite me. But everyone who lives in Sikeston knows the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo is much more than just a rodeo.

The Rodeo ignites the town and allows us the chance to show the positive aspects of the community. Businesses decorate their windows, little kids dress up as rodeo clowns; there is a popular parade the Saturday before the Rodeo begins and many head downtown to enjoy the Cowboy Up! Festival. And thatís all before the Rodeo even begins.

During the Rodeo, people flock to the Rodeo Grounds to not only see the Rodeo, which has become one of the better rodeos in the country by all accounts, but to visit with friends, have an adult beverage or three and listen to the entertainment. People come not just from Sikeston but from all around the region. They spend money at local restaurants and stores and stay in our hotels, bringing Sikeston much needed tax money.

But the most impressive part of the Rodeo is the Sikeston Jaycees themselves. The amount of work that goes into putting on the Rodeo is tremendous. Work for next yearís Rodeo will basically begin the moment this yearís Rodeo is over. With the countless hours they log, they miss time with their families and friends, all to make the Rodeo special. And they have for 66 years and this yearís 67th edition Iím sure will be just as good, if not better.

What makes the Jayceesí work even more meaningful is the money they give back to the community. The Jaycees are dedicated to improving the community and have averaged $130,000 a year in donations to local charities like the Kenny Rogers Childrenís Center, Missouri Delta and the YMCA. The Sikeston Jaycees were even recognized nationally at last yearís Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas for their philanthropic contributions to the community, receiving a tractor valued at $35,000 for their reward.

The Rodeo has become a crown jewel of Sikeston and we all should be proud of the efforts of the Jaycees and everyone who makes the event a success. So while I may not get excited about watching someone ride a horse around a bunch of barrels, I do get ready to slip into those boots when the rodeo comes to town.

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