“There’ll be a few extra fun things.”
That’s the forecast for the college cowboys and cowgirls, rodeo alumni and enthusiasts coming to Manhattan this weekend.
Well, those who’ve been around awhile just grin and claim “That’s the way it’s always been.”
True likely enough as most generally when there’s a cowboy and cowgirl gathering, there’s going to be some fun times.
It always becomes a bit more exuberant with the college crowd. Now, with rodeo weekend and a special anniversary, there’s promise of even more high-spirited enjoyment.
The 61st annual K-State Rodeo is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 17, 18, 19, at Weber Arena on the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan.
“This is the 70th year of the K-State Rodeo Club, so many alumni are coming for the rodeo and other special activities planned,” according to Miss Rodeo K-State Brooke Wallace, who’s working many duties including rodeo promotions.
More than 400 college rodeo athletes from 18 colleges from throughout the Central Plains Region of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association will be in town for the competition.
“Our home team, that’s the K-State Rodeo Team, will have 11 women and five men competing in their home arena,” Wallace pointed out.
Casy Winn is serving his second year as the team coach. Casey Adams is the women’s team captain, and Marty Shanks leads the men’s team as captain.
“College rodeo is hard work, and our team has been practicing harder than ever. They’re going all out to make a top showing at the home rodeo,” Wallace said.
“But, like the college cowboys and cowgirls for generations, we all have a good time, too,” Wallace recognized smiling.
“In recognition of the rodeo club anniversary, there’ll be a social from 4:30, to 7 o’clock, Friday evening, Feb. 17, at the nearby Stanley Stout Center,” Wallace pointed out.
Special t-shirts, other rodeo club items and festivities are planned there, and at each performance.
Rodeo action kicks off at 7:30, Friday, Weber Arena, with Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night. It’ll benefit cancer treatment, research, and recognition of those efforts.
Saturday’s matinee, Feb. 18, at 1 o’clock, is featured as Kids’ Day. There’ll be free admittance of children, 12 and under, accompanied by one adult ticket holder, and donation of one canned goods for the Flint Hills Breadbasket.
Wallace, who’s served several rodeo royalty roles including simultaneously now as the Miss Central Plains Rodeo Association (CPRA), will relinquish her KSU prestige with crowning of the 2017-18 Miss Rodeo K-State.
“Competition has been conducted previously with three cowgirls vying for the title,” Wallace said. “The coronation is set for 6:45, Saturday evening, prior to the third and final long-go performance.”
That performance, at 7:30, has been titled “Pack Weber with Purple Night.” Wallace, a senior majoring in apparel and textiles major, insisted, “With the rodeo club anniversary, all of the rodeo crowd in town, there won’t be an empty seat in Weber.
“As if most everybody won’t be decked out in purple anyway, we sure encourage all to show their purple pride power for rodeo,” she encouraged.
Cowboy Church will be at 10 o’clock, Sunday morning, Feb. 19, and the top 10 contestants from each event will come back for the short-go finals performance at 1 o’clock.
“Sunday is Military Appreciation Day, with the featured dignitary being retired Army Lieutenant General Perry Wiggins,” Wallace said.
“In addition, the Fort Riley Mounted Color Guard will perform a flag ceremony during the in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Big Red 1,” Wallace added.
Slack for team roping, breakaway roping, steer wrestling and tie-down roping will be Friday morning at 9 o’clock. There’ll be goat tying and barrel racing slack Saturday morning at 9 o’clock.
Seven decades ago, rodeo enthusiasts attending K-State decided to form their own group separate from other campus animal science, agriculture and athletic activities.
Details are somewhat scant, as many of those original members are not around, but it was originally called the Chaparajos, then Chaps Club. Year of name change isn’t certain, but speculation is “Chaps,” became the K-State Rodeo Club in the late ’60s.
“We sure encourage everyone to attend the K-State Rodeo Club alumni gathering Friday afternoon,” Wallace welcomed. “Bring your old K-State Rodeo Club and Team photos, yearbooks, belt buckles, letter jackets and anything of historic significance.
“This will be an opportunity to take pictures and be part of a new history page on the K-State Rodeo website,” Wallace said.
A book with pages for each of the 70 years will be available for rodeo alumni to fill in officers, team members, memories and experiences. “An update on facilities and scholarships will be provided. Refreshments will be served and door prizes awarded in time for the evening rodeo performance. Come join the fun,” Wallace welcomed.