By LARRY TUCKER
The long standing tradition of the Mineola Fireman’s Rodeo will continue Friday and Saturday at the Fire Department Rodeo Arena on Highway 69 North.
This will be the 56th annual affair with participants from several states competing in the United Pro Rodeo Association-sanctioned event. Tickets for adults are $10, children under 12 $8 and under five is free.
There is a full slate of events for cowboys and cowgirls including Bull Riding, Steer Wrestling, Bareback, Saddle Bronc, Break-away Roping, Team Roping, Tie-down Roping and Barrel Racing. The rodeo is produced by Flying C Rodeo Company of Madill, Oklahoma.
Fire Marshal David Madsen is getting ready for the event. “It’s more of a tradition now and it is a big fundraiser for the fire department. We were kind of going downhill for several years with the show not being that good and attendance down,” Madsen said. “But Will Cook from Flying C came aboard and things started picking up. He started giving us a good show and the rodeo has gotten bigger and better every year. There have been times we have had as many as a 1,000 on a night.”
Six young women are vying for Rodeo Queen and Jr. Rodeo Queen titles. Queen contestants are Kaylie Roberts, Paige Ross and Kaylin Baker while the junior contestants are BrookLyn Monk, Katherine Knutson and Carmen Carrasco. “It’s more than just selling tickets for these girls. They have other things such as horsemanship competition,” Madsen added.
Madsen said people could come out to the “slack” on Thursday which is for participants not in the main program Friday and Saturday. “Thursday is free admission for the slack. The concessions are open and you can see some great action for free,” Madsen added.
The rodeo brings in funds which are used for training and equipment which might not be in the department’s budget. There are more than 20 Mineola fire fighters including four full-time. After rodeo expenses are met, the remaining funds go to the fire department.
A concert Saturday night after the rodeo will feature the Keith Mitchell Band with singer Todd Brewer who hails from Mineola. No outside food or drinks are allowed at the rodeo. Beer will be available.