The Douglas County Charity Rodeo will be held Friday through Sunday at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds.
Rodeo riders from Douglas County and beyond are gearing up for a showdown this weekend in Lawrence.
Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Friday for the third edition of the annual Douglas County Charity Rodeo, held at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds. Sanctioned by the United Rodeo Assn. and the Missouri Rodeo Cowboys Assn., the event promises to draw contestants from throughout the Midwest for competitions in eight events.
"The United Rodeo Assn. covers an eight-state span, so chances are we'll have people from all over that region, plus local people," said Nancy Othick, treasurer of the rodeo organizing committee.
Participants will compete in barrel racing, bareback riding, bull riding, calf roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and two categories of team roping. Events begin at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with gates opening at 6:30 p.m. each night.
Inside and out of the ring, there's more to the rodeo than competitive riding and roping.
Othick said a rodeo parade would kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown Lawrence. Firefighting equipment, military vehicles and horses will share the road from Seventh Street to South Park on Massachusetts Street.
The Douglas County rodeo queen will be crowned Saturday evening. Bobbie Ward, queen pageant organizer, said the competition drew three contestants -- Cyndi Kuhn, Olathe; Jana Ramonda, Topeka; and Christy Hadl, Lawrence -- who were judged last Saturday.
One of the three will succeed Angie Morton, Lawrence, who was crowned queen in 1995 during what was believed to be the county's first rodeo queen contest.
Ward said the 1996 winner, like Morton, would represent the local rodeo in the Miss United Rodeo Assn. pageant, held in October in Columbia, Mo. The queen also is expected to appear in some area rodeos and parades.
Other special rodeo events include a women's steer riding contest and a nightly "calf scramble" for children.
Othick said that in the scramble, children ages 5 to 10 chase a calf with a ribbon on its tail. The child who is able to remove the ribbon earns $10.
She said organizers scheduled women's steer riding after seeing the competition at a local show.
"It had gone over just like wildfire," she said. "There was a mother whose son was a bull rider. She was 60, and they talked her into riding her first steer. And she loved it."
A kickoff concert held for the first time in 1995 won't be back this year.
"We would love to do that, but it's not one of the things we can afford," Othick said.
This year's rodeo proceeds will go to the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds. Tickets are available at Vanderbilt's, 1548 E. 23rd, Ampride, 1000 E. 23rd, and Dillon stores.