RIDE 'EM: Fair officials call inaugural rodeo success

COLUMBIA CITY — Eight seconds seemed like an eternity to 20 riders at Whitley County 4-H Fair’s inaugural rodeo event Saturday.The event, put on by King Brothers Rodeo of Centerville, Ind. began with a tribute to the many veterans in the crowd of 2,200. As Annette Lamle, Whitley County 4-H Council member, sang the national anthem, a white horse rode by, carrying a cowgirl from King Brothers who held an American Flag.Every rodeo has to have a clown and Tommy the Clown from Ohio made a sneaky entrance into the arena and caught announcer Trey Winhurst, a rodeo cowboy himself, by surprise.The evening was filled with everything a traditional rodeo has and King Brothers is a rodeo tradition, having been in the business since the late 1800s. Two bull riders managed to hang on. Kolten Bode and Levi Smucker rode their bovine the full eight seconds. Bode rode “Trickster” and Smucker rode “Napoleon.”Local bull rider Nick Peppler rode Pop Not and hung on for a few seconds, but was just like the 20 who went before him — landing in the dirt while the bull kept on bucking until the bull wranglers took control of the animal.The fate of local female bull rider, Kellie Hearld mirrored Peppler’s. She looked great coming out of the chute but landed in the dirt. The bulls were the real stars in the show. Juko was the national champion bull in 2011. Widow Maker was powerful too.Four cowboys performed tie down roping on calves. One calf was slow to get up when the cowboy landed on it and it went into shock, according to officials of King Brothers.Twelve teams performed team roping where a horned and older calf runs and one cowboy lassos its head and the other it’s hind leg. No animals were hurt and officials described the “chores” are performed just like a cowboy would on a cattle ranch.Another crowd pleaser was saddle broncing. Four cowboys performed this feat by staying on a bucking bronco for at least eight seconds. They are Jarrett O’Neil on Oreo; Jeff Rawlings on Peanut Butter Oreo; Jordan Harrison on Two Bears and David Dorfline on Short Stroke. Seven cowgirls competed in the barrel racing including local rider, Ashlynd Pleus. In the children’s event, Tommy the Clown brought youngsters of all ages down on the track. They did the boot find. Each child took off one of their shoes and raced back to find them amongst the others. It had just rained and the track was muddy, but few children cared. Miss Whitley County Katie Barnett assisted in the games by spreading the shoes all over, making the job of finding them even more difficult.All events followed the rules set down by the Central States Rodeo Association.