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In The Arena

Some children grow up playing baseball, football, or other sports. Hours upon hours are spent tossing a ball back and forth. But not me. I spent my childhood roping. From age 3 all the way through high school, I was never without a rope. This often drew sneers from little old ladies in church and funny looks from girls on dates but, nevertheless, I was determined to become a roper.

One of the unique aspects of the Black Hills Roundup is the generations of family members who’ve competed in the rodeo and served on its committees. Fay Kennedy, Belle Fourche, South Dakota, has been involved with the event for more than 60 years and has researched and reported its history for all to enjoy.

Growing up in a saddle-bronc-riding family and being in love with the event since I was about 10 weeks old, it’s no surprise that most of my heroes were bronc riders. Among them were my father, Tom Tescher, my uncle Jim Tescher, Alvin Nelson and Kansas-raised Bobby Berger.

Producing rodeos in California has put stock contractor Cotton Rosser up against some stiff competition when it comes to the general public’s coveted entertainment dollars. And that’s why he believes rodeos should be more than just a sporting event – they should be entertaining as well.

When its 80th annual edition takes place Feb. 19-27 in Tucson, Ariz., La Fiesta de los Vaqueros will attract cowboys, year-round residents and “snowbirds” alike to an event that’s been a desert entertainment staple since 1925. The Tucson Rodeo’s a unique and enticing winter spectacle for a number of reasons – not the least of which is a climate where average February temperatures are in the mid-50s, but can climb into the 80s.

Although creating a rodeo organization from scratch is no easy task, the National High School Rodeo Association – organizers of the new Wrangler Division for junior-high school students – has been there before. Texas educator Claude Mullins developed the NHSRA in the late 1940s as a way to convince ranch kids in his state to stay in school and earn their diplomas.