Wednesday, September 24, 2014
   
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Readying grounds for Pony Express Rodeo July 3-4

Roping, riding club gets ready for big event.

Drills and hammers filled Tuesday’s fresh morning air as volunteers took apart old bleachers and repaired an announcer’s booth.

A new red roof has appeared on the concession stand and rest rooms which also shine with a new coat of paint at the rodeo arena.

Gothenburg Roping and Riding Club president Jared Slagle promises quality contestants at the July 3 and 4 rodeo, sponored by the organization, lured by larger purses.

“Because of good sponsors, we’ve raised the most money ever,” Slagle said.

The rodeo, which Slagle will announce, is slated to begin July 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. each night with mutton busting for children and a calf scramble, where youngsters try to pull a ribbon from a calf’s tail, during the rodeo.

“We want these events to be part of the rodeo, not before it like in the past,” he said.

Before the rodeo at 6 p.m. each night, the Gothenburg Relay For Life will host pony rides and kids’ games to raise money to fight cancer.

In addition to regular rodeo events, six-time Midstates Rodeo Association clown of the year Shawn “Wild Man” Stutzman will entertain the crowd.

Increased contributions also means better quality rough stock for bull, bareback and saddle bronc riding, he noted.

Slagle attributes fund-raising success and other changes at the grounds to the newly organized club which is up to 25 members.

The organization also received grant money from the Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce tourism committee which has helped put a new roof on the concession stand, paid for new panels bordering the property and paint and an improved rodeo program, he said.

Although the rodeo is the club’s main event, Slagle said club members want more involvement at the arena by other community groups.

Already, horse 4-H and barrel riding organizations use the arena for practice, shows and competition as well as the club for roping and riding.

Later this summer, Slagle said they hope to have a ranch rodeo with events like team sorting.

Such things are possible, he said, because of the different committees formed within the club.

They are grounds, sponsorship, events, promotion, concessions and rodeo production.

As the club grows and fund-raising increases, Slagle said members hope to make the rodeo the premier summer event in Gothenburg and the state.

He added that they are always looking for new members. If interested, call Slagle at 529-2139.

“We’re all riding, roping and rodeo-minded people who want to get more youth involved,” Slagle said. “We want our beautiful arena to be used by more people,” he said.

Already, the club is on Facebook and plans to have a website listing events at the arena.

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