By Frank J. Buchman
The best in rodeo is coming to Manhattan, according to Steve Frazier, promotions coordinator and arena director for the 41th annual edition of the Kaw Valley Rodeo,
“Again sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, performances will begin at 8 o’clock, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, July 21, 22, 23, at Wells Arena in Cico Park, with many of the nations’ very best cowboys and cowgirls competing in America’s toughest sport,” Frazier said.
Seven sanctioned rodeo events include bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle-bronc riding, tie-down roping, bull riding and barrel racing.
Rafter H Rodeo Company is returning as the stock contractor, along with Lynn Phillips, as announcer. Professional judges this year are Sam Minnick, El Dorado, and Brad Mattox, Derby.
The Silver Buckle Drill Team of the McPherson Saddle Club will entertain at each performance.
Bullfighters Andy North, Yukon, Oklahoma, and Ethan McDonald, Solomon, are to protect fallen cowboys during the bull riding.
Dustin Brewer, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, Louisiana, will serve as barrel man, and also entertain with his Little Red Wonder Car.
There will be a Rodeo Readin’ Roundup, Thursday morning, July 21, 10 o’clock, at the Manhattan Public Library, with rodeo clowns, Miss Rodeo K-State and free rodeo tickets for kids. Bullfighter Andy North will read the book “Pigs Can Fly.”
The annual Military Family Appreciation Night Pre-Rodeo Picnic before Thursday’s rodeo is free to all military families.
Thursday’s rodeo will also be Kid’s Night with children, 12 and under, admitted free for a non-perishable food donation brought to the rodeo to benefit the Flint Hills Breadbasket.
Friday, July 22, has been designated as Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night, with activities to benefit the Kansas State University Johnson Center for Basic Cancer Research
Saturday, July 23, will be Day of the Cowboy at the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan. Activities include barrel racing, calf roping, bull riding, leather stamping, face painting, buckboard rides and cattle calling. Rodeo queens and rodeo clowns will interact with guests.
In 1976, when the Riley County Fair Board needed evening entertainment, a group of rodeo enthusiasts looked into bringing their sport to Manhattan. A fairground arena, established through a federal grant, provided a location, and organizing the rodeo was soon underway.
“Today, more four decades later, the Kaw Valley Rodeo continues to bring cowboys, cowgirls, champion livestock and rodeo fans, young and old, together each summer at the Riley County Fair for Manhattan’s premier outdoor summer sporting event at Wells Arena. We’ll see you there,” Frazier invited.