Keeping rodeo forever young
LAUGHLIN — Keeping the way of rodeo alive starts with teaching children. The youth exhibition is one part of the Grand Canyon Professional Rodeo Association’s Finals event.
The finals will be Nov. 8 through 10 at the Avi Resort and Casino’s Mojave Crossing Event Center, 101 S. Aztec Road. The youth exhibition will be at 9 a.m. MST Friday, Nov. 8 at the event center.
“The youth exhibition rodeo is an invitation ‘rodeo’ where children from the community can come interact with the cowboys and cowgirls and learn some things about rodeo,” said Patsy Alexander, GCPRA secretary.
Children will have the option to participate in dummy roping, stick horse barrel racing, bouncy ball bucking and face painting to name a few of the activities, said Alexander. GCPRA finalists are invited to come out and talk with youth about rodeo and what it means to compete.
The exhibition is a community event and is meant to give youth a chance to get an idea about rodeo, she said. It helps children learn about the ways of Western life.
“We hope that this will encourage them to want to come watch the finals in the competitors compete later that night or on Saturday,” said Alexander.
Organizers hope to make this an annual event.
“This is our inaugural year to do this youth event, and we are hoping that it becomes a recurring event each year,” said Alexander. “We would just like to try to give back to the community, we are very blessed and grateful to have such a wonderful venue for our finals.”
The rodeo finals kicks off with the ceremony Thursday, Nov. 8 for contestants. It begins at 9 p.m. MST.
First round, or incentive round, will begin at 1 p.m. MST Friday, Nov. 9. The event includes barrel racing, tie down and barrels.
The open events performance begins at 7 p.m. MST Friday. Events include bareback, steer wrestling, tie down, saddle bronc riding, breakaway, team roping, barrels and bullriding.
Incentive events round two begins at 10 a.m. MST Saturday. Events include barrels, tie down and team roping.
The final opens events round begins at 2 p.m. MST Saturday. Events include bareback, steer wrestling, tie down, saddle bronc riding, team roping, barrels and bullriding.
There are pre-rodeo events prior to competition beginning about 6:30 p.m. MST Friday and 12:30 p.m. MST Saturday, which include Native American dancers, singers, a drill team presentation and mutton busting for aspiring cowboys and cowgirls, according to Teri Murphy, who handles marketing and special events with the GCPRA.
Jack Mangum is looking forward to participating in the sheep riding event, as he has at other rodeo events in the Tri-state.
“It’s fun and a little scary,” said the 7-year-old pictured on the cover wi th his cousin Colin Salari. “After your first time mutton bustin’ it’s not that scary anymore. So you basically just hold on to its fur, wrap your legs tight and hold on!”
Mangum is hopeful his experience will give him an advantage.
“I feel good and I’m ready to do it again,” said Mangum. “I really hope I get the highest score.”