Clay County Rodeo Set for This Weekend

Thursday, September 19, 2013
One of the featured bucking horses at this weekend's rodeo in Piggott is #940 Cholo, one of the top broncs in the region.

Professional rodeo returns to Piggott Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20 and 21, with two big nights of action at the Clay County Fairgrounds. The Clay County Rodeo is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. each night. Admission is $7 with kids age six and under admitted free with a paying adult.

"We've got a lot of great events lined up," noted local organizer Darrin Moore. "Plus, we'll be taking time each night to recognize two of Clay County's surviving World War II veterans."

Moore noted four local veterans of World War II are to be recognized during the two nights of rodeo, including Tim Tanner, Herschel Branson, Ed Thompson and Norman Steward.

"We'll be introducing and recognizing two of the veterans each night," he explained. "We thought it would be a great way to honor them for all they've given to our country."

Along with top rodeo action, the evening's schedule of events will also include mutton bustin' for the kids, a calf scramble and a game of bull poker and will wrap up with a concert in the arena.

Outlaw Rodeo Productions is providing the four-legged talent for the event, and will be bringing two top bucking horses to town, including #940 Cholo and #6 Abbi Strong.

"Cholo came to us as a three year old out of a very successful bucking horse breeding program at Burch's in Wyoming," noted Mike Gillum of Outlaw Rodeo Productions. "The program has produced a ton of high end buckers, including many NFR qualifiers and a couple of PRCA award winners--he is bronc all the way."

Gillum noted Cholo has already gained a reputation on the rodeo circuit. "He kicks and paws, and is really dangerous to be around--and will bite anything within biting distance," he explained. "He has to be tied into the bucking shoot, and he's big and tall and really gives the cowboys a jerk."

Cholo has also left a lot of bareback riders confused, as he has not set pattern other than to explode out of the gate. "He's notorious for direction and lead change," Gillum added. "But, if the cowboy weathers the first five seconds--which rarely happens, he usually lines out and is a relatively honest horse to finish the ride. The good cowboys crave him, and the up-and-comers shiver at his name."

Gillum added Cholo has been named the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association 2010 and 2013 Bareback Horse of the Finals. He was also named as the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Bareback Horse of the Year.

"We'll also be bringing Abbi Strong, and those two horses are virtually inseparable--they're true friends," Gillum added. "Abbi Strong was named after a classmate of my partner's daughter, Kacey McCollum, by the name of Abbi Lucas. Abbi suffered from an incurable childhood cancer from age four, and lost her battle last year at the age of 12. Throughout the fight Kacey asked that we name our toughest bronc, the one with the most try and biggest heart, after Abbi--so we gave it her nickname, Abbi Strong. That horse carries that name today in her honor."

Gillum explained Abbi Strong came to them as a spoiled saddle horse. "She's relatively pleasant to be around, but she doesn't get along in confined places so she too stands in the chute with a loose rope around her neck," he added. "She's an honest bucker--no big ducks or dives, she just out powers her riders by a huge jump in the air and then breaks at the withers as she comes down and follows it with a strong kick at the sky."

He added Abbi Strong is a classy bucking horse that could make a living in any league. "Most cowboys aren't necessarily eager to draw him, but they know he will give them 100 percent every time," he explained. "If they ride this horse correctly they will win."

Abbi Strong has been named Missouri Rodeo Association Bareback of the Finals for both 2009 and 2012, and was Bareback of the Year for 2013.

Moore also added each night of rodeo will wrap-up with a concert by local talent Dillan Cate. "We'll have Dillan Cate performing each night after the rodeo in the arena, and hope everyone will make plans to join us," he surmised.

The rodeo is being held in the arena at the Clay County Fairgrounds, located on East North Street on the north edge of Piggott.

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