By Shari Harris, Publisher
The 36th Annual Licking Chamber of Commerce Rodeo was blessed with good weather and great attendance. The move from a PRCA rodeo to an MRCA/URA event did not appear to impact the quality of the show, with long-time Licking Rodeo announcer Chris Pyle returning and with PRCA rodeo clown Hollywood Harris entertaining the crowd.
Friday night opened with a military color guard from Fort Leonard Wood displaying the flags. Riders presented flags of the branches of the military as well. Saturday night was Pink Night and featured a balloon release in memory of Eden Bisker and all others lost to cancer. This year’s rodeo was dedicated to the memory of Colton Ogden. Members of Licking 4-H and FFA unfurled a large U. S. flag in the center of the arena, and 4-H children held the letters USA as Cadrian Hutsell of Licking sang the National Anthem Saturday night.
The crowd-pleasing Mutton Bustin’ was popular both evenings, with a total of 44 youngsters age six years and under trying to stay on a wriggly sheep. Many more kids participated in the goat scramble (ages five and under) Friday night and the calf scramble (ages six to eleven) Saturday night. Over the two nights, more than 5,000 people were on hand to cheer on the youngsters, as well as the cowboys and cowgirls who followed.
The Ozarks’ Renegades trick riders performed to the delight of the audience Friday evening. Daredevil stunts positioned the young women hanging upside down, running alongside and standing up on their horses using special stirrups at the tops of the saddles while circling the arena.
Mounted shooting was a new competition, with shooters from U.S. Mounted Shooting contending Saturday morning for the finals that evening. Cowboys and cowgirls fired blanks from their long Colt .45 single-action pistols while galloping down the arena and back, bursting balloons in a race for the best time. Sara May Stahmer took home top prize money, followed by Neal Deterding and Rae Griffin. Angela and Kenny Pecora from Cabool were local shooters qualifying for the finals of the competition.
Licking was represented in the rodeo by Peggy Link and Rachel Wallace in Barrel Racing, Casey Huff in Bull Riding, Chad Medlock and Ben McCloy in Team Roping, and Cole, Jasper and Brandy McCloy in Breakaway Roping. Competitors also hailed from other area towns including Edgar Springs, Salem, Rolla, Newburg, Willow Springs and Mtn. View. But this was not just a local rodeo; cowboys and cowgirls from throughout Missouri and from out-of-state (Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Mississippi and Iowa) showed up to try and take home prize money.
Rodeo winners included Maverick Griffin, Grain Valley – Bareback; Toby Essick, Highlandville – Steer Wrestling; Clay Gulick, Mt. Vernon, and Zach Kraus, Pacific – Team Roping; Larry Bennett – Saddle Bronc; Ryder Loeb, New Haven – Breakaway Roping; Wenten Reiter, Springfield – Tie Down Roping; Jeff Loeb, New Haven – Over 40 Tie Down Roping; Shalonda Miller, Mansfield – Barrel Racing; and Tyler Vogele, Cedarvale, Kan. – Bull Riding.
Photos by Shari Harris