Deputy Sheriff’s rodeo coming to town
What’s more American than apple pie?
Here’s a hint: its recipe — famously given in a country song — calls for bulls and blood, dust and mud, boots, chaps and cowboy hats.
“Rodeo comes from the everyday working cowboy, and it’s America’s sport,” rodeo producer Robbie Thomas said. “It is the only professional sport here in America that has no European influences.”
And April 26 and 27, America’s sport is coming back to Natchez with the Adams County Deputy Sheriff’s Pro Rodeo at the Wayne Johnson arena at 200 Foster Mound Road.
The rodeo will have the contests rodeos are known for, including bareback riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, team roping and bull riding.
It’ll also have rodeo clowns and cowboy entertainers.
Thomas — who is returning as the rodeo’s producer — said last year the event had 200 contestants and that this year could draw as many. It is sanctioned with the International Professional Rodeo Association and the Southeastern Professional Rodeo Association in an attempt to draw in a bigger array of cowboys and cowgirls, he said.
“Cowboys are different than any other athlete, because we are not paid regardless,” he said. “Imagine if a player in the National Football League got paid like a (rodeo) cowboy — you get paid for how well you play, and you have to up the money for yourself and run against it.”
The more points a cowboy wins in rodeos around the country, the more it counts toward his final score in national contests, Thomas said.
And the contests won’t necessarily be easy. The horse that is being brought in for the bareback riding contest was named bucking horse of the year, and one of the bulls being brought in is called “The Maniac.”
“He was a real crowd pleaser last year because he hooks anything in sight,” Thomas said.
New to the rodeo this year is a rodeo queen’s contest. The contest — which is divided into categories of speech, modeling, personal interview, impromptu question and horsemanship — is open to women ages 16 to 24. The winner will receive a belt buckle and a crown and will have her entry fee paid for the Miss Rodeo USA pageant.
Adams County resident Jimmi Vasser — who will be one of the judges — said the rodeo queen contest is as much about horsemanship as it is about the interview.
“The biggest thing is the horsemanship, their personality and how they handle their questions,” Vasser said. “Appearance is one thing but you are not judged on your beauty, you are judged on how you carry yourself, how you are dressed.”
Entertainment at the show will include famed rodeo clown Rudy Burns, who has been a barrel man at the national rodeo finals in Las Vegas seven times.
“He is by far one of the top funny men in the nation,” Thomas said.
Wild Bill Hickok — or at least his look-alike, Chris McDaniel — will also have a one-man Wild West show at the rodeo. McDaniel is a quick draw and rope whip performer.
“One of the things he does is pop two whips at a time and sings “Rawhide” and pops the whips in time like it is the bass drum,” Thomas said. “He’ll also take a six-foot whip and use it to pop the cigar in his mouth down to his mustache.”
Children’s events will include the Gold Rush, which won’t cost anything for participation.
“We take a big hay pile in the middle of the arena with a lot of prizes in it and let the kids dig through it,” Thomas said.
And just in case the mothers of children get jealous, the rodeo offers women the diamond dig, where if they find an item buried in the arena they get a diamond ring, Thomas said.
Those who want to attend the rodeo will also have a chance to get in free the night of April 26. Thomas said during the day Friday he will have a bull at Great River Chevrolet, and whoever goes by and correctly guesses the weight of the bull gets four tickets to to that night’s events.
Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said the rodeo has grown tremendously since its founding three years ago.
“We had between 2,000 and 3,000 people come through last year, and we had to add more seating and bleachers to the arena,” he said.
Mayfield said the rodeo is something the deputies work on all year with the goal of presenting some kind of family-oriented, child-friendly entertainment to the community. The proceeds from the rodeo go to the Adams County Deputy Sheriff’s Fund, while the proceeds from the concession sales are directed to Adams County Search and Rescue.
“The deputies have a committee of people from each area of the department, and they all vote on how the money is spent. Mostly it is used to buy equipment that they need that maybe the county doesn’t have the money for, so it saves the taxpayers money, and it is a good family-oriented event that people can bring the kids to with entertainment for all ages.
“It is a good time, a real feel-good event, and it is something we look forward to every year.”
The gates will open at 6 p.m. both nights. Advance tickets are available at the ACSO and at Double-C Ranch Western Store. For more information, contact the ACSO at 601-442-2752. Forms for the Miss Rodeo Miss-Lou Contest are available at www.adamscosheriff.org