*This story appeared in the July 10th edition of the Hastings Tribune.
Kids of all ages sported plaid shirts, blue jeans, belt buck- les, cowboy boots and cowboy hats Thursday and get a feel for what it’s like to rodeo.
The annual Nuckolls County Fair kids rodeo was Thursday night at the fairgrounds in Nelson.
“The kids rodeo was started a few years ago by the Nuckolls County Fair President Angie Gardner said. “It’s become a real highlight for the year of events. And although there is plenty of set up and planning involved, it’s become second nature for those involved to help put this event on.”
The rodeo kicked off at 7:00 p.m. with dummy roping as the opening event. This event, which allows kids as young as three and four years of age to participate, allows everyone to get involved and have fun.
“The dummy roping event is great. Even though there are kids that don’t know how to rope, everyone can participate,” Gardner said. “Its good for the kids, that know how to rope, to showcase their skills. It’s also really good practice for the older, more experienced kids to rope in front of the crowd.”
The dummy-roping event was split into four different age divisions. The participants practiced roping a dummy steer attached to a bale of hay. Those that “caught” their rope around the dummy were allowed to continue, while those who missed were eliminated.
No matter the result in the dummy-roping event, competitors received small prizes for their involvement.
There were a number of other events throughout the evening, depending on age and skill level. For younger children, the events included boot scramble, stick horse races and mutton bustin’.
“The most entertaining event for both the participants and the audience is the mutton bustin’,” Gardner said. “It’s really fun for the kids to get to ride a sheep and for the parents to get to watch that.”
For more experienced kids, events included barrel racing, pole bending and the goat tie. Winners received both cash payouts and an all round belt buckle, but more importantly, bragging rights until next year’s rodeo.
All of the events, no matter the age or skill level, set the stage for the Nuckolls County Rodeo on Friday and Saturday nights. The list of events includes bull riding, steer riding and team roping, among others.
The Nuckolls County Rodeo events are set to begin at 7:30 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday nights at the Nuckolls County Fairgrounds.