Mutton busting bursts into rodeo

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Top rider to get $100 prize at inaugural event Friday

The 75th annual Rotary Rodeo event will be offering a new attraction and a little kid-friendly competition this year on Friday — Mutton busting.

A rodeo event similar to bull-riding, mutton busting is an event where children ride sheep and attempt to stay on for at least four seconds.

“It’s likened to bull riding, but on a sheep,” said Landon Fletcher, president of First State Bank. “We’re adding it as an attraction this year to provide more entertainment for the attendees, and give kids an opportunity to get involved.

“The judges will have a stopwatch and anyone who rides over four seconds will be given a score based on how they rode and the performance of the sheep.”

Children must be age 6 or under and weigh at least 60 pounds to participate, and the competition will be limited to 15 contestants to allow time for the event, which will take place at 6:30 p.m. before the rodeo begins at 8 p.m.

Along with a chance for adventure, there are other perks, too. Prizes are $100 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third.

A $10 registration fee is required, and preregistration is encouraged since only 15 slots are available.

“Parents can still sign up until 6:30 p.m. the night of the event as long we haven’t reached our limit,” Fletcher said.

Parents must sign a release form and are strongly encouraged to bring a properly-fitting helmet for their child to wear.

Fletcher said mutton busting is a popular event in mainstream rodeos, and while competitive rodeo style is encouraged for the event, it is not required.

“Competitive style is one hand in the air at all times, and one hand on the rope,” he said. “However, we will not disqualify any children for bear hugging the sheep.”

To register, people may call Fletcher at 417-847-6623; Stan Kelley at Freedom Bank, at 417-846-1719; or Justin Gates at Commerce Bank, at 417-847-4111.

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