Teen rodeo to benefit SIHS Future Farmers of America program
BY DEBBIE PAGE
Attention all cowboys and cowgirls or those who always wanted to be one!
The Second Annual South Iredell FFA Alumni Rodeo will be on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21, at the Iredell County Fairgrounds. The events begin at 7:30 p.m. each day.
Teens from the North Carolina High School Rodeo Association (NCHSRA) and other riders will participate, with title sponsor Lancaster’s BBQ helping to underwrite the event. The rodeo proceeds will fund FFA projects at SIHS.
The SIHS FFA members will be heavily involved in rodeo setup, operation, and clean up.
Established in 1966, the FFA has grown exponentially at South in the past four years, increasing the program’s financial needs for tools and funds to provide opportunities for participants. The program helps members become successful leaders in the agricultural field.
This rodeo would not be possible without the support of the community and local businesses. Sponsorship funding and proceeds will help the FFA chapter provide scholarships, fund various leadership opportunities such as National FFA Convention, maintain livestock facilities and the aquaponics lab, and pay for career development events.
The group is seeking additional business sponsorships for the rodeo, ranging from $50 to $350. The sponsors will be featured at the event with banners in varying sizes recognizing the businesses. Those interested in helping can contact FFA Alumni President David Sherrill at 704-902-2087.
Interested partners can also email Sherrill at firstname.lastname@example.org or email Brandy Starnes, South Iredell High School FFA Advisor, at email@example.com for more information or to join in sponsoring the event.
Interested youth (6th through 12th grades) can participate in the rodeo events through North Carolina High School Rodeo Association. Entry fees are $35 for the timed events and $45 for the rough stock.
For more information, contact Sharon Livengood, NCHSRA Secretary, at 704-798-0432.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for kids (ages 2 and under are free). Admission is $7 for military members and first responders showing their IDs. Parking is $3.
Concessions will also be available at the two-day event. Several food trucks, ice cream and snack concessions will be onsite.
Many people are not familiar with the exciting competition areas at rodeos, so here is a short primer on what attendees will experience at the April event.
Barrel racers demonstrate their horsemanship skills at a fast and furious pace in this crowd-favorite event. Contestants on their horses enter the arena at full speed to begin the pattern as the horse and rider trip an electronic eye that starts the clock. The racer completes a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels and then sprints out of the arena, stopping the clock. The contestant can touch or move the barrels but will be penalized five seconds for each overturned barrel. Victory is often determined by fractions of a second.
Pole bending is a timed event in which th object is to run the flexible pole pattern correctly and quickly without knocking any poles down. Riders work hard to train their horses to obey rein and leg pressure signals to compete in this event successfully.
Breakaway roping is a type of calf roping for people of all ages. After calves are released, a waiting cowboy must throw a thin rope lasso around a calf’s neck but does not throw it down or tie it. Riders must signal the horse to stop when the rope is around the calf’s neck. When the rope fits tightly around the calf’s neck, the string breaks and the contestant’s run ends. The competitor with the fastest time wins the competition.
The object for horse and rider is to race about 100 yards into the arena where a goat is staked on a 10-foot rope. The rider must jump off the horse as it comes to a sliding start, catch the goat, throw it to the ground, and tie three of its feet together. After tying, competitors signal their success by throwing their hands up and releasing the goat. The swiftest contestant to complete the test correctly wins.
Bareback riders place their feet above the horse's shoulder. During the 8-second ride, the cowboys must grasp the leather rein with only one hand and stay in control with their heels at the horse's neck. Riders then move their feet to the horse's withers (the area between the shoulder blades) until nearly touching the rigging. Riders are judged on their control and spurring methods. The rider's interaction with the horse’s strength as well as horse's performance determines half the rider’s score.
Saddle Bronc Riding
Saddle bronco riding competition emerged from the Old West when cowboys tried to ride untamed horses with style. Riders begin with their feet over the bronc's shoulders and must coordinate their spurring with the horses's bucking to earn a high score. The cowboy's control, length of spurring movement, and the intensity of the horse’s bucking also influences the rider’s score. The rider is disqualified if he touches the animal, himself, or the equipment with his free hand before eight seconds elapses, if either foot slips from the stirrup, or if he loses grip on the rein.
Bull riders must remain on a huge, quick bucking bull for eight seconds. Riders must have strong legs and arms and lean forward since tilting back will cause the rider to lurch forward as the bull bucks. Good body position, use of the free arm, and spurring action influence a rider's score. The contestant's performance determines half the score, with the other half awarded to the animal's efforts. Touching the animal, himself or his equipment with his free hand will disqualify the rider.
In the lightning-quick steer wrestling event, competitors must wrestle a steer to the ground using only their leverage and strength. The wrestler rides behind another cowboy, who keeps the steer from turning away from the competitor. They chase the steer until the competitor is near enough to dismount and grab the steer's horns in both hands. He uses leverage to wrestle the steer to the ground in mere seconds. The wrestler’s strength, quickness and steadiness determine his success.
In a precursor to stepping up to steer wrestling, these competitors start on foot in the chute with the steer. After the steer is released, the competitor must guide the steer to a line ten feet from the chute and wrestle it to the ground within 60 seconds. All four feet must be up while the steer is on its back to count.
In this event, competitors must quickly lasso and tie calves. The calf is released into the arena and chased by the rider. As the cowboy lassos the calf, the horse stops for the cowboy to dismount, sprint to the calf, throw it to the ground, and tie three legs together using string clenched in his teeth throughout the run. The horse must keep the rope taut but not move the calf. After completing the tie, the competitor throws his hands up to show completion, gets back on the horse, and moves toward the calf to release the rope tension.
Rodeo's only team event involves two ropers who maneuver together to catch the steer. After the steer enters the arena, the first cowboy ropes the steer’s head. Afterward, he pulls the steer left to allow the second competitor to rope the steer’s back legs. Catching only one leg adds five seconds to the team’s time. If the second cowboy tries the lasso the legs before the steer is turned and still moving, the team is disqualified. The clock stops when both contestants’ ropes are loose and they face each other.
In ribbon roping, a cowboy-cowgirl team competes, with one roping the calf and then dismounting to help the “runner,” who must get the ribbon tied to the calf’s tail. The runner then sprints across the finish line located 30 feet in front of the roping chute. The roper must also touch the calf prior to the runner crossing the finish line.
For more information about the NCHSRA, go to http://www.nchsrodeo.com or visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NC-High-School-Rodeo-Association-991221820994313/.
To learn more about the South Iredell High School FFA Rodeo, visit the organization’s webpage at https://sihsffaalumnirodeo.weebly.com