MARQUETTE — When an event reaches the four-decade mark, you know you’re doing something right.
The 40th annual Smoky Valley Saddle Club Rodeo will take place Aug. 4 and 5 at the Marquette Saddle Club Arena, 402 W. Sixth St., Marquette. The rodeo will bring together both time-honored traditional activities and several new features this year.
Children can participate in three different events. Those ages 0 to 5 will have a stick horse race, ages 6 to 9 can compete in a pig scramble and there will be a calf scramble for ages 10 to 12.
“There will be a lot of stuff for kids to do,” said organizer Lori James.
For children who want to try their hand at riding a sheep, mutton busting will return to the rodeo.
There is an addition to the lineup this year — a jackpot barrel race that will be held Aug. 3.
“This is a new event that the saddle club is putting on,” James said. “We have run a successful series of four previous races in June, and we are excited to put on a race in August.”
Jackpot racing has more divisions than standard barrel racing, which attracts more entrants.
“There’s multiple divisions, so you have more chance of being successful,” James said. “In the jackpot race, you will see more local riders and younger riders who are getting started, as well as some really fantastic highly skilled riders from other parts of the state.”
The jackpot races gives girls an opportunity to work their horses locally before entering the rodeo that weekend.
There is also the added incentive of $400 in prize money that has been added to the pot.
“This means the payouts for the winners in each division are better,” James said. “We are hoping this event will grow in the years to come.”
Entertaining children and adults alike will be rodeo clown Fast Freddie Waltz.
“We are really excited about this,” James said. “It brings a lot more interaction with the crowd. He has a couple of acts that he will perform between rodeo events.”
The third annual Rodeo Run will begin at 8 a.m. Aug. 6. The Rodeo Run includes a 5K race, one mile fun run/walk and a kid’s short course race. Runners will start and finish in front of the Kansas Motorcycle Museum, located at 120 N. Washington St. in downtown Marquette. Registration forms can be picked up in Marquette at the Farmers State Bank, 205 N. Washington St., City Hall, 113 N. Washington St. or at City Sundries, 104 N. Washington St. Proceeds from the Rodeo Run benefit the Marquette Chamber of Commerce.
The Rice County Line Band will perform from 10 p.m. Aug. 5 to 1 a.m. Aug. 6. Those with rodeo wristbands can come and dance to the band’s tunes for free. The dance is sponsored by Hopp’s Custom Baling and Pioneer Seed.
The Smoky Valley Saddle Club Rodeo begins at 8 p.m. each night. The cost for advance tickets is $7 for adults and $3 for children ages 5 to 11, and tickets at the gate will cost $9 for adults and $6 for children. Children under the age of 4 get in free.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.