HASTINGS, Neb. -- The Oregon Trail Rodeo will arrive in Hastings this weekend for the twenty-seventh year.
Over 200 cowboys and cowgirls will gallop into the Adams Co. Fairgrounds for three nights of pro rodeo, Aug. 24-26.
Fans will experience rodeo action in seven events: bareback riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, and the grand finale each night, the bull riding!
Rodeo clown Wesley “Hippie” Engelkes will provide the comedy and laughs, and Travis Schauda, Broken Bow, will call the action.
The bucking horses and bulls are provided by Korkow Rodeo Co., Pierre, S.D. Because of their quality animals, Korkow horses and bulls are hired at rodeos across the nation and at pro rodeo’s pinnacle, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR), held in Las Vegas every December.
It’s not just the rodeo action in the arena that keeps fans returning to the Oregon Trail Rodeo. A kids stick horse race and grand entry takes place before the rodeo each night, and a free barbecue for all ticket holders will be held from 3:30-5 pm on Sun., August 26.
The rodeo raises funds for people receiving cancer treatment at the Morrison Cancer Center. On Sat., August 25, fans are asked to wear pink to raise awareness not only for breast cancer but all kinds of cancer. For every fan wearing pink, the rodeo donates one dollar to the Morrison Cancer Center. Since the program started, over $35,000 has been raised.
For long-time Hastings resident Lee Hogan, the rodeo is one of his favorite volunteer endeavors. He became involved in the mid-1990s and served as rodeo chairman for nine years. He loves the people who are involved; not only the volunteers but the cowboys and cowgirls as well. “We’ve had some really top quality (rodeo) talent here,” Hogan said, noting that Mullen’s Steven Dent, an eight-time WNFR qualifier, has competed at the rodeo several times. Volunteer help has also been a big part of the rodeo, Hogan said. “We have good volunteers. Everybody knows their job and does it.”
During Hogan’s tenure as chairman, two big projects were accomplished at the arena. Permanent chutes and pens were installed, and the bucking chutes were moved to the north end. When the rodeo started, the arena didn’t have permanent chutes and pens, and Jim Korkow would bring his portable set each year from South Dakota. Setting up and tearing down portable chutes and pens was a lot of work, Hogan said. “That was a terrible job. We had to unload it, set it up, and on the last night of rodeo, load it back up.”
The bucking chutes were also moved, Hogan said. They used to be on the east side of the arena, which didn’t provide enough room for the bucking horses and bulls; as they bucked, they ran into the fence on the west side. Plans were drawn up and the chutes moved to the north end, where they are today.
Hogan has enjoyed working with the rodeo. “Everybody connected to the rodeo, from the cowboys to the judges, volunteers, and the stock contractor, are all what make the rodeo work. They are all good people.”
Tickets for the rodeo range in price from $10 to $20 for adults and from $5 to $20 for children. They can be purchased online at www.AdamsCountyFairgrounds.com, at the fairgrounds office (947 S. Baltimore Street in Hastings), and at the gate.
The rodeo starts at 7 pm on Aug. 24-25 and at 5 pm on Aug. 26.