The West is Coming to the East: Forever Blue Rodeo

The West is Coming to the East
Forever Blue Rodeo
by Jennifer LB Leese
j.leese@picketnews.com

Cowboys, horses, sweat, cattle, dirt, and mud - combined these words can only conjure up one image - a rodeo!
Rodeos are exciting, exhilarating, and the energy from the crowd is rousing.
Six-year-old Keegan Childers says, "I like the rodeo because I like bull riders. I want to go to the rodeo because I want to chase the sheep." Keegan is excited about the rodeo. He has been to 1 rodeo and enjoyed it. He likes the idea that his friend Mason gets to come too.
Sean, an eighteen-year-old enjoys attending rodeos said, "I like the rodeo because I get to wear my western clothes. I like to watch the horses and the bulls. I enjoy hanging out and talking to the clowns."
Years ago, rodeos were only found in rural areas. Today, rodeos are everywhere. In some areas, a rodeo is considered a high school sport.
A rodeo is a sport that came from the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United Sates, Canada, South America, and Australia. This competitive sport was based on the skills required of the working vaqueros and later, cowboys, of what today is the western United States, western Canada, and northern Mexico. However, today's cash-winning rodeos consist of several different timed and judged events that involve cattle and horses and is designed to test the skill and speed of the human cowboy and cowgirl athletes who participate.
The American English word "rodeo" is taken directly from the Spanish word "rodear" (ro-day-oh), which means, "to surround" or "go around". The term rodeo was first used in English approximately 1834 to refer to cattle roundup. It was only occasionally used for American cowboy sports until the 1920s, and professional cowboys themselves did not officially adopt the term until 1945.
Rodeos have come a long way. The history is rich, tracing back to the great horsemanship traditions of the Spanish conquistadors.
"One of the activities introduced by the Spanish and incorporated into rodeo was bull riding. Another was steer wrestling, involved wrestling the steer to the ground by riding up behind it, grabbing its tail, and twisting it to the ground. Bull wrestling had been part of an ancient tradition throughout the ancient Mediterranean world including Spain. The ancient Minoans of Crete practiced bull jumping, bull riding, and bull wrestling. Bull wrestling may have been one of the Olympic sports events of the ancient Greeks." (Wikipedia)
The numbers of American cowboys grew at the end of the Civil war when cattle herds spread throughout the west.
Rodeo is now a big business and we have one coming to Hagerstown!
"Thinking outside of the box for non-traditional fundraisers is how we got involved with the rodeo. I had attended the rodeo that was held during the Washington County Ag Expo with my family last year. It was the first rodeo that I had attended and I was surprised by the size of the crowd that a rodeo draws in the area. The rodeo also brings a lot of adrenaline to the atmosphere. I felt that if we could host a rodeo we would be able to financially support the youth involved in the Clear Spring FFA more and also draw awareness to the agriculture academy held at Clear Spring High School," said Helene Ridenour, Vice President FFA Alumni.
The Clear Spring High School FFA and FFA Alumni are sponsoring "Forever Blue Rodeo" produced by Dave Martin Championship Rodeos.
The Clear Spring FFA Chapter and Alumni are members of the National FFA Association. Founded in 1928, The Future Farmers of America brought together students, teachers and agribusiness to solidify support for agricultural education.
"I truly believe that the FFA provides students with a solid foundation to build their life upon. While in high school I was very active in the FFA and was privileged to be the president in my senior year. Many of the skills I possess today were taught to me while I was in the FFA. Leadership, teamwork, organizational skills and parliamentary procedures are just a few of the skills that I have used throughout my life.
"When my two sons entered into high school I encouraged them to become involved in the FFA. Because of their involvement myself along with other parents re-activated the Alumni. I know first hand how important the Alumni was to the Chapter when I was in school and how they not only financially supported the chapter but they also volunteered with their time and talents. The FFA has a broad group of members from the farmer to the athlete. The FFA is able to find a place for anyone who wants to become involved.
"There is one member that comes to mind and though this member doesn't participate in competitions if you need a helping hand Chris Mills will be there. He came to meetings regarding the Rodeo and he volunteers at fundraising activities willing to help in any way he can. That is what makes the FFA so special it allows students from every walk in life to be involved at different levels while still providing them with the opportunity to grow and learn," said President of the FFA Alumni Mary Reid.
Rodeo founder and stock contractor Dave Martin brings you more than 40 years of combined experience in the rodeo business and has quite a reputation for bringing outstanding stock and exciting and electrifying shows to more than 50 venues each year.
"The rodeo is an affordable family event that brings positives to the economic community of Washington County. The riders and vendors will be staying at the Clarion Inn and frequenting Cancun Cantina and others establishments in the county," said Ridenour.
The event is set for Saturday, June 28, 2008 (rain date: June 29) at the Agricultural Educational Center, Sharpsburg Pike, Hagerstown. Gates open at 5pm and the show starts at 7pm. The rodeo will begin with a Little Buckaroo contest, which consists of:
Sheep riding for ages 6 and under
Stick horse race ages 6 and under
Sheep scramble ages 7-12 years
Contestants can pre-register for the Little Buckaroo event by calling Helene Ridenour at 301-739-4416. Prior to the event there will be a table set up in the arena area for parents to sign permission slips for children to participate. There are a limited number of spots available for each event. Parents are encouraged to register children early. Registration is Free.
Bull hockey will be held for those over the age of eighteen who wish to entice a running bull to chase them into their goal zone. Sign up will be the night of the event. Contestants must be 18 years old. Registration is Free.
Ride a cowboy event- for all you strong cowboys out there - bring your favorite cowgirl and sign up for this event on the night of the rodeo. Registration is free.
FFA member challenge - 2 members from each chapter are needed to participate in the challenge. The event is not for those who are weak or squeamish. The event will take place in the arena during the show. Males or females can participate. Wear your blue and gold proudly and represent your chapter in this event. There is no entry fee. Please register ahead of time. Chapters come and support your members in this event. Call Helene Ridenour 301-739-4416 if you wish to participate. Pre-registration is required. The event is open to 2 representatives from each chapter in the 4 state area.
Tickets can be purchased at Clear Spring High School Ag Building, Bare Foot Bernies- Hagerstown, Battleview Grocery- Sharpsburg, River City Feeds- Williamsport, Maugansville Creamery- Maugansville, Maple Leaf Tack and Western Wear- Garris Shop Road, Star Equestrian Center- Huyett area, Clear Spring Hardware- Clear Spring, Conococheague grocery- Clear Spring, Paul's Photography- Hancock, and Smith's Implements- Mercersburg.
Events include: bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, girl's breakaway roping, cowgirl's barrel race, bull riding, and bull hockey.
David Ridenour, a seventeen-year-old 2008 graduate of Smithsburg, has been riding bulls for less than a year. David says that he is an adrenaline junkie - it started in high school when he wanted to do the most physical sports. When he realized that high school was ending he knew that he needed to find a new way to get his adrenaline rush and that is when he started bull riding. David will be riding in the bull riding competition. He is also participating in the FFA challenge. David is the State FFA Reporter and son of Harold and Peggy Ridenour.
"Local riders can register by calling David Martins Bull ride Mania line at 1-717-527-7724. Rodeo events have limited participants so call early. There are currently 22 bull riders registered," Ridenour said.
"Rodeo enjoyed enormous popularity in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia, as well as in London, Europe, Cuba, South America, and the Far East in the 1920s and 1930s. Today, none of those venues is viable. Despite numerous tours abroad before World War II, rodeo is really significant only in North America. While it does exist in Australia and New Zealand, top athletes from those countries come to America to seek their fortunes. Some Latin American countries have contests called rodeos but these have none of the events found in the North American version." (Wikipedia)

Source: Wikipedia, Suite 101,