It’s almost rodeo time in Tonganoxie.
The 53rd annual Abdallah Shrine Rodeo returns to the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds for the fifth consecutive year starting Thursday, but this year, there’s a new attraction at the Memorial Day weekend event.
A demolition derby will take place Saturday at the fairgrounds. The rodeo starts at 7 p.m. tonight and Friday, and the demolition derby also begins at 7 p.m. The Kansas City country band Robe also will perform after the demolition derby.
It’s a new offering for the Shriners, who are best known for organizing rodeos and circuses.
“We decided to expand our offering and try to appeal to another bunch of people,” said Nick Turner, chairman of the weekend’s activities and 2011 Potenate.
A craft fair also will take place, and vendors will be on the grounds starting at 6 p.m. each night.
Whatever the fans come to see, Shriners say they have to make a good impression.
“We enjoy putting on an event that is high quality and affordable for families,” Turner said. “It’s something we’ve been doing for five decades-plus, and this year is no different.
“We like working with the community.”
Competitions slated for the rodeo are team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, barrel racing and bull riding.
Tickets for the event can be purchased at B&J; Country Mart, 319 Ridge St. in Tonganoxie, and online. They range in price from $4 for youths ages 6 to 12, to $12 for adults. More information can be found at the rodeo’s website, ShrineRodeo.com or by calling the Shrine Temple at 913-362-5300.