Lions Club rodeo action rips out of the chutes

By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
Lions Club rodeo action rips out of the chutes
OVER THE DASH BOARD — If some hot action is what you are looking for, the 69th annual Conrad Lions Club Whoop-Up Trails Days Celebration rodeo will have quick-on-the trigger excitement for two days at the rodeo grounds, June 13-14. Photo courtesy of Gary VanderVeen
   Next weekend will mark the 69th annual Conrad Lions Club Whoop-Up Trail Days Celebration.
   And while there is a lot of activity in town, all of which will be covered in next week’s I-O, the big attraction and crowd grabber is the two-day rodeo on June 13-14.
   The Lions have been working hard to get the rodeo grounds in tip-top shape for the coming weekend when for a short time, Conrad is the rodeo capital of the west.
   The premiere event is bullriding. The Cowboy must stay on a rip snorting buckin’ bull for a lifetime, OK, eight seconds. But if you are the one on the bull’s back, it seems like a lifetime. You get to hold on with an unknotted rope looped around the bull’s belly and can use only one hand to hold on.
   Probably the second most watched event is the bareback riding. Riders have to stay on the bucking horse, again for eight seconds. They spur the horse on to leap, twist, snort and jump as much as possible.
   Only one hand is allowed to hold on to a rope, also tied around the belly of the horse that really does not want a rider on his back.
   Another timed event is the Saddle Bronc ride. Here, the rider is allowed the use of a saddle, halter and rein, but can use only one hand to hold on and he has to spur the horse as many times as possible in an eight to 10 second   up, down and around ride.
   Steer Wrestling is a timed event as well where a cowboy drops off his racing horse next to a steer, grabbing it by the horns and wrestling it to the ground. Another cowboy, called a hazer, rides on the other side of the steer to help keep it running in a straight line down the arena.
   Calf roping, or sometimes referred to as the “tie-down,” is a timed event where a cowboy and his horse chase down a calf, rope it, throw to the arena floor and tie three of its legs together.
   The horse, amazingly, is trained to assist by keeping the rope taut while the rider approaches the calf on foot.
   Barrel racing is traditionally a Cowgirl event, that is also timed, start to finish.
   The contestants, on their horse, rip through the arena in a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels just as fast as they can. If a barrel is knocked over by the horse rider, judges tack on an extra five seconds to the ride.
   A key to this event is what is called the “money barrel,” the first barrel in barrel racing. A good first barrel run is key to a good pattern. Check this out as the Cowgirls race down the arena to the first barrel.
   Team roping is the one and only event in which two cowboys may work together.
   One, called the header, ropes a steer’s horns, while his partner, the heeler, loops the hind legs.
   The timing is finished when both cowboys pull their ropes tight at a 90 degree angle from the steer.
   All during the rodeo, you will see a clown, actually called the barrel man. He traditionally entertained the rodeo audience from a barrel, but now he moves all around the arena as well. He also helps distract bulls from going after the rider in that event.
   Following are a few rodeo terms you may hear while out at the rodeo grounds.
   One the riders don’t want to hear comes from the announcer, “No time.” This is used to indicate that a cowboy or cowgirl went off course, broke a rule or exceeded the time limit for an event and will not receive a time. What it really means is no prize money for you, the contestant.
   An arm jerker is an animal that bucks with a lot of power. The chute(s) are areas that hold the stock prior to an event.
   Freight-trained is being run over by an animal that is traveling at top speed. Hung up is a rider who is still attached to a horse or bull after dismounting.
   The suicide wrap is the grip bullriders take when wrapping the rope around their hand.
   Over the dash board is when a stock rider is tossed over the front of an animal.
   These are a few of the terms you will hear at the rodeo ground and if you attend but one rodeo a year, this may help you to better understand the talk of the cowboy and experienced fans.
   The action is fast and furious for two days and is good as family fun can get.