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Burnet County Rodeo is May 11-12

The Burnet County Rodeo returns this weekend will all the favorites from mutton bustin’ to bronc riding. File photo

BURNET — Do you have a hankering to give rodeo a shot, but you’re not exactly sure how to start? The Burnet County Rodeo has just the event for you.

It’s called Ranch Bronc Riding, and all it takes is you plunking down $10 for a temporary rodeo card. Well, that and a dash of bravado with a touch of foolishness. The video and photos, along with the stories you’ll tell afterward, will be well worth it.

“Basically, it’s the rankest saddle broncs that no one could ride, and our stock contractor brings a pen of them along,” said Brent Nichols of the Burnet County Rodeo Association. “These guys ride with a regular old saddle, but it’s something. We did it for the first time last year, and it was one of (the fans’) favorite events.”

The Ranch Bronc Riding event is open to all comers on both nights of the Burnet County Rodeo. But, as Nichols noted, it’s only one of the reasons to head to the annual event, which is Friday-Saturday, May 11-12, at the Burnet County Rodeo Arena, 1301 Houston Clinton Drive. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for ages 6-9, while kids 5 and younger get in for free.

Gates open at about 5:30 p.m. both days, but things start shaking at 7 p.m. with a number of youth activities.

“We’ll have a couple of kids’ events starting about seven each night: a round of mutton bustin’ and a shoe scramble,” Nichols said. “We’ll have another round of mutton bustin’ during the rodeo performance and the calf scramble. But get your kids there early if they want to be in the mutton bustin’.”

If you’re scratching your head about this “mutton bustin,’” let me break it down for you. Rodeo officials gather up several adult sheep and usher them into the chutes. Then, officials and parents round up a mess of youngsters and plunk them down on the sheep.

Once all the kids and sheep are settled (or as close as they can be), the chutes are thrown open and they’re off. The kids and sheep careen around the arena. Some kids barely make it out of the chute before crashing to the ground. Others cling to those sheep as if the world would end if they let go, even if they end up slipping around to the belly of the beast.

The kids who hold on the longest earn bragging rights.

It’s one of Nichols’s favorite events.

“Those little kids see those bull riders, bronc riders, and bareback riders walking around, and they want to be like them,” he said. “If you go down where the cowboys are getting ready, you’ll see kids just watching them. They want to be like (the rodeo athletes). So in their eyes, when they’re in that mutton bustin’, they become those cowboys.”

The mutton bustin’ and other youth events help keep the sport of rodeo alive.

“These give the kids a chance to be in the rodeo,” Nichols said. “We need kids to come to the rodeos because without them, the sport could die. It’s the heritage and keeping it up.”

A young mutton buster hangs on tightly out of the chutes during a past Burnet County Rodeo. Parents can sign up their cowpokes for the event in advance at Blair’s Western Wear, 2501 U.S. 281 in Marble Falls, and at the rodeo grounds, 1301 Houston Clinton Drive in Burnet. File photo

The kids’ events are on both nights of the rodeo. Parents can pre-register their children for the mutton bustin’ at Blair’s Western Wear, 2501 U.S. 281 in Marble Falls, and at the rodeo grounds.

Of course, the Burnet County Rodeo features top-notch rodeo events, including bull riding, barrel racing, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, team roping, calf roping, and steer wrestling. The rodeo is sanctioned by both the Cowboy Professional Rodeo Association and the United Professional Rodeo Association, so athletes can earn points in overall standings during the Burnet County event.

If two nights of rodeo action isn’t enough, the Burnet County Rodeo features slack competition at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 10. Slack is basically the overflow competition for the timed and non-rough stock events that don’t make the Friday or Saturday performances. There is no charge to watch.

And at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, the Burnet County Team Roping competition features local team ropers giving their all against the clock and each other.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but we have some great team ropers here in Burnet County,” Nichols said. “And the top ones get in the Burnet County Rodeo.”

Both the team roping and slack events are at the Burnet County Rodeo Arena.

Back to the Friday and Saturday performances, both feature dances following the rodeo with Fast Movin’ Train on Friday and Kenny Orts and No Chance on Saturday. The dance is included in rodeo admission.

Friday night is also Patriot Night, so military and first responders get in at half-price with an ID. And Saturday is Tough Enough to Wear Pink as part of cancer awareness. Nichols said the Burnet County Rodeo supports Susan G. Komen in its efforts to find a cure for cancer and help those battling the disease. Rodeo officials are encouraging everyone to wear pink Saturday.

“We’ll also have a full concession and beverages,” Nichols said. “With the admission and concession, we keep it cheap so a family doesn’t have to break the bank to come out and have a great time. The rodeo is a great family event, and we encourage families to come out and have fun.”

Tickets are available at the gate. Pre-sale tickets are available at The Picayune, 1007 Avenue K in Marble Falls; the Burnet Chamber of Commerce, 101 N. Pierce St. in Burnet; Blair’s Western Wear, 2501 U.S. 281 in Marble Falls; and Hill Country Auto Glass, 1000 Buchanan Drive in Burnet.

For more arena action, check out our Highland Lakes Rodeos guide.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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