The ninth annual Perry County Community Rodeo will be held this Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6 at the East Perry Community Fairgrounds in Altenburg. Repairs have been made to the damage caused by the "inland hurricane" that hit the fairgrounds on Friday, May 8. The Corporate sponsor for the rodeo is Altenburg Hardwood Lumber Company. In addition to the seven official events, the calf scramble and mutton busting (sheep riding) events for kids will return prior to the regular rodeo events. The children with the top ten scores each evening in mutton busting will compete in a final round during the intermission of the official rodeo. Tickets for the event are $9.00 at the gate for persons age 11 and older with children age 10 and under admitted at no charge.
The rodeo is sanctioned by the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA), which is based in Oklahoma City and holds it's annual International Finals Rodeo (IFR) there each January. The IPRA is the second largest rodeo sanctioning body in the world. Being one of the highest paying rodeos on the IPRA circuit, the Altenburg event draws many of the top money winners in the association as well as several local competitors. The contestants at the Altenburg rodeo over its first eight years have included many current and former IPRA champions. In 2008 four current IPRA champions competed at Altenburg. Other Altenburg entries over the years have included past competitors from the PRCA National Finals Amanda Clayman and Ronnie Fields; current Professional Bull Riders (PBR) tour members Austin Meier, Ryan Dirteater, Skeeter Kingsolver, and Cord McCoy; and World's Toughest Cowboy competitors Bandy Murphy and Erik Wolford.
This year's entries feature some highly ranked contestants. Topping the list are three 2008 world champions - Saddle Bronc rider Sean Prater from Burbank, Oklahoma, Tie-Down Roper P J Spencer from Collinsville, Oklahoma and 13 year-old three-time Barrel Racing champion Mesa Leavitt from Bluegrass, Iowa. Leavitt is also the current champion of the Martha Josey Junior World Championship for barrel racers that draws over 300 competitors. They won their crowns at the International Finals Rodeo held in January in Oklahoma City. The field of 116 entries includes over 20 cowboys and cowgirls that competed at the finals. Four current International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) point leaders -- Leavitt; Saddle Bronc rider Stacy Belt from Harrisonville, Missouri; Bareback Bronc rider Joe Courville from Manteno, Illinois; and Bull Rider Nathan Tull from Shawnee, Oklahoma. Also competing will be World's Toughest Bulls and Broncs Bareback Bronc Champion Tim Wilkinson of Steelville, Missouri.
Universal Rodeos LLC of rural Jackson will again serve as the stock contractors for the event. Headed by Mark Johnson, they own a string of outstanding stock including bulls and broncs that have compete at the International Finals Rodeo, the PRCA National Finals, Cheyenne Frontier Days, and in several Professional Bull Riders (PBR) events.
Musical entertainment following the rodeo performance will be provided by "Silverado" on Friday night and by "The Jimmy Lee Band" on Saturday night. Miss Rodeo USA 2009, Jamie Virden of Ellensburg, Washington, will participate in the rodeo and lead its Grand Entry. Rodeo performances are scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm each evening with pre-rodeo activities starting at 6:30pm and gates opening at 5:00 pm. The rodeo is a joint effort of the East Perry Community Fair and the East Perry County Jaycees, who use the proceeds of the rodeo to fund their community projects. For further information visit the web at www.perryvillemo.com/chamber/rodeo.