Whether it was due to the lower ticket prices or the great weather, the crowds at the tenth annual Perry County Community Rodeo in Altenburg this past weekend were the largest in several years. Committee members agree that the attendance on Friday night was the largest opening night crowd since the inaugural event in 2001 and the Saturday turnout was the biggest in recent years. The contestants representing the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA), the American Cowboy Rodeo Association (ACRA), and local entries from the area put on a great show for the spectators. The entries came from 17 states and included current and past champions of the IPRA, ACRA, and several state high school rodeo organizations. Fans were also entertained throughout the evening by barrelman Brian "The Brown Clown" White, announcer Brandon McClagan, and soundman Mark Evans. The stock contractor for the event was Universal Rodeos LLC owned by Mark Johnson of rural Jackson.
Josh Shackleford made the relatively short 65 mile trip from McGee, Wayne County, Missouri to set a new arena record with an 85 point ride in bareback bronc riding. In contrast, Jeffrey Keith Miller traveled nearly 400 miles from Blue Mound, Kansas to set a new record of 8.0 seconds in tie-down roping, breaking the previous record of 8.3 seconds that had been set in the inaugural Altenburg rodeo in 2001 by perennial roping champion Chip Porterfield.
Nikki Jo Elam of Miami, Oklahoma missed the arena record by less than four-tenths of a second in the cowgirl barrel racing event besting four-time and defending IPRA champion Mesa Leavitt by seventeen-one-thousandth of a second for her win. Elam will compete in the Oklahoma State High School Rodeo Championships this week. Other winners included Clay Pianalto of Lincoln, Arkansas and Chad Evans of Springdale, Arkansas in team roping; Jason Thomas of Benton, Arkansas in steer wrestling; Tyler West of Fort Scott, Kansas in saddle bronc riding; and Jarrett Martin of Rose, Oklahoma in bull riding. Martin was one of just six of the twenty-three entries in the event to ride his bull for eight seconds.
Area competitors finishing well in their events were Jeremy Nice of Jackson who tied for fourth in saddle bronc riding, Nicole Burns of Fredericktown who finished fourth in cowgirl barrel racing, and Chris Evans of Benton who came in sixth in tie-down roping.
Planning has already started for next year's rodeo in Altenburg which is tentatively scheduled for June 3 and 4, 2011.