At the sound of nearly two tons of agitated bull kicking the shoot fencing, the cowboys steel their nerves as they lower themselves onto the muscular animal athletes to await the release of the gate and the chase for that 8 second ride. The moment comes. Some will succeed. Some will fail. But either way, the crowd is always there to cheer them on. But on this particular Wednesday morning, the octave of those cheers is just a bit higher in range than the usual rodeo crowd. This morning, it’s all about the kids. The Bell County PRCA Rodeo is officially underway! To kick off the rodeo activities each year, the Bell County PRCA Rodeo has a free kids rodeo for the area’s youth. Wednesday morning nearly 6,000 kids from Bell County area kindergartens and elementary schools, snacks and bag lunches in hand, marched in to the Bell County Expo Center to get a first hand look as top flight riders from around the world tackle bullriding, team roping, barrel racing, and more, in the central Texas red dirt. Zita Bett, a chaperon for her son Jethro’s2nd grade class from Holland Elementary, said she was excited to watch because this was her first time to attend a rodeo. Jethro had attended last year’s show so he was an old pro, but for Zita, she was ready for the new experience to “open up my world.”
Holland 8th grader Amya Rodriguez started the festivities with a rousing version of “The Star Spangled Banner”. Look for her to repeat her performance this Saturday at the 22nd Annual Zack & Jim Anniversary Party. She also has sung her rendition at Aggie sporting events in College Station and at the 4th of July Red Lodge PRCA rodeo in Montana. We might just have a future star on our hands.
You might be surprised to know that some of the world’s top contenders are riding in the arena this weekend. According to past Rodeo Committee Chairman Sam Best, “Access to the athletes and the world champs that come through here” is what makes this an outstanding rodeo. Best said that with the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo winding up and San Antonio Rodeo just about to start, this is the only opportunity between the two major events that these riders will have to accumulate their much needed points, so every year some of the best of the best ride at the Expo for this event. And this point was echoed by current chairperson Tina Butler, “Not many rodeos elsewhere in the U.s. can say that this caliber of rider is going to be in their arena.”
Having a quality event means more than just having a good show at the Bell County PRCA Rodeo. By maintaining this level of quality, the rodeo’s attendance brings in revenue that will help the next generation of farmers and ranchers. The all volunteer rodeo committee makes sure 100% of all net proceeds goes to the Bell County Youth Fair, who in turn use the money to award college scholarships to FFA and 4H youth.
So remember this weekend when you attend the 28th Annual Bell County PRCA Rodeo, you’re doing more than just watching some guys ride livestock. You’re getting to see world class riders and ropers that are the best at what this sport requires and you’re paving the way for some child’s future. And for many of them, it started on a Wednesday morning when their teacher took them to see a rodeo at the Expo Center.
Enjoy these pictures of this years Bell County PRCA Rodeo..