By Frank J. Buchman
In 2015, what is now billed as The Topeka Rodeo made national headlines when a $10,000 check was awarded to a local resident as winner of “The $10,000 Golden Horseshoe Contest,” coordinated by The BIG 94.5 Country, rodeo sponsor.
That same year, The Topeka Rodeo was recognized as the Best New Rodeo of the Year by the United Rodeo Association (URA), which sanctions more than 100 rodeos throughout the country annually.
“Those two major achievements will always make 2015 stand out for The Topeka Rodeo,” according to Dr. Jeff VanPetten, rodeo chairman.
“The best news is that the Golden Horseshoe Contest is back again this year,” stated Rusty Walker of the acclaimed Walker-Daniels Morning Show on The BIG 94.5 Country.
“We’re hoping for another ringer,” exclaimed Walker, also a rodeo committee member.
“But this year, we have even more great things added for our fifth annual rodeo August 19 and 20, at the North Topeka Saddle Club Arena, 74th and North Topeka Boulevard, Topeka,” promised VanPetten, a Meriden veterinarian.
Friday and Saturday evenings, at 8 o’clock, chutes will be loaded with broncs, and bulls, as the bleachers fill with spectators for the exciting action featuring top cowboys and cowgirls from throughout the Midwest.
Sanctioned competition is to feature saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, tie-down calf roping, team roping, over-40 calf roping, breakaway roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing and big bad bull riding.
The Topeka Rodeo benefits activities of the North Topeka Saddle Club, a 501c3 non-profit organization, which annually hosts a number of youth and community events, according to VanPetten.
This year, The Topeka Rodeo will offer two scholarships to area students, one boy and one girl, with applications still being accepted at this time.
“Giving back to the community is The Topeka Rodeo’s main objective and being able to help students continue their education is a great pleasure,” VanPetten insisted.
A $1,000 bonus will be awarded to winner of The Topeka Rodeo bull riding competition.
“This bonus was added last year, and Bill Pollick, who sponsors the incentive, agreed to continue the offer, especially significant to rodeo bull riding contestants,” VanPetten said. In case of a tie, the bonus money will be split evenly.
“When listeners of The BIG 94.5 Country hear ‘The Horseshoe Sounder,’ they must call in to receive a golden horseshoe,” Walker explained.
“Recipients of this horseshoe will get tickets to the Saturday evening rodeo performance and be put in the running for a chance to win $10,000,” Walker continued. “At the rodeo, qualified throwers will each be given one opportunity to toss the ‘official’ golden horseshoe, and win the big check if the throw is declared a ringer.”
A “Rodeo Kick-off Party” is set Thursday, Aug. 18, as The Topeka Rodeo teams with the Kansas Expocentre’s “Third Thursday” live music series at the Kansas Expocentre’s Heritage Hall and Gazebo, at 5 o’clock, Walker said..
On Saturday morning at 8 o’clock, a “Cowboy Breakfast” pancake feed catered by Puffy’s Steakhouse will be at the rodeo arena benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Rodeo “slack” competition is set for 9 o’clock, with breakfast attendees welcome to watch the action.
The Topeka Rodeo committee in addition to VanPetten and Walker, includes Shane Sommars, Jo Turner, Justin Gregory, Lisa Haag, Bobby Hinds, Luann Crist, and Torey Berndt.
“This rodeo wouldn’t be possible without our sponsors,” VanPetten emphasized. “The BIG 94.5 Country, now an Alpha Media affiliate station, stepped up early on in the planning process followed by Hollywood Casino. Many local businesses have also become involved and are excited to keep the rodeo growing in Topeka.”