Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - The 77th annual Sallisaw Lions Club Rodeo begins Thursday and runs through Saturday, one year after the event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The return of the rodeo is big news in Sallisaw, and organizers say they are expecting large crowds to attend each night.
A rodeo parade through the streets of downtown Sallisaw is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, and the rodeo will begin each night at 8 p.m.
Those riding horseback during the parade will earn a free ticket to Thursday's rodeo, and participants riding horses in Friday and Saturday's grand entries will be admitted to the rodeo free.
Rodeo admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-10. Children 5 and under get in free.
Lineup for Thursday's parade will begin at 5 p.m. at the rodeo grounds, which are northwest of the Sallisaw Municipal Pool at 115 E. Redwood Ave. At 5:30 p.m., parade participants will head west on Redwood to Maple Street. The parade will then proceed south to Cherokee Street, east to Wheeler Avenue, north to Redwood, then west to the rodeo grounds.
Competitions at the rodeo will include bareback riding, bull riding, cowgirl barrel racing, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, team roping and cowgirl breakaway roping. The Rodeo of the Ozarks Rounders will be back for this year's rodeo, along with a drill team that will perform each night.
Dances are scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights after the rodeo, around 10:30 p.m. Brandon Bethel will perform Friday and RC and the Ambers will perform Saturday. Wyatt Shumate of Crossroads will open for Bethel on Friday and Sethro's Cosmic Cow Camp is set to open for RC and the Ambers on Saturday. Paid entrance to the rodeo includes dance admission, but admission to the dances after 10 p.m. will be $8.
Other events at the rodeo will include wild-horse races, calf scrambles, mutton-bustin' and pony rides. There will even be a mechanical bull at the rodeo for those willing to give it a try. Sign-ups for the wild-horse races will begin at 6 p.m. each day. Three-man teams can sign up at the entry gate, where no entry fee will be charged for race participants. Entrants must be 18 and older. Each night's winning team will win $150.
The calf scramble is for children 5-11. Each night of the rodeo, contestants and calves will be released at the same time in the arena. Eight of the calves will have ribbons attached to their tails. Each ribbon is worth $5 to the kid who can grab it and return it to the judges. No entry fee is required for the scramble, either. The event will be held in the middle of each rodeo performance.
Sign-ups for the mutton-bustin' competition will take place at 5:30 p.m. nightly, and the fun will begin at 6:30 p.m. The top 10 participants will get to ride again in the rodeo itself for a nightly prize of $25 and a trophy. Mutton-bustin' is for children ages 4-8 who weigh less than 60 pounds. Riders will be timed and judged. Entry fee is $15 and riders can sign up at the contestants' entry gate.
Pony rides and mechanical bull rides will be $5 each .
The announcer for the 2021 Sallisaw Lions Club Rodeo will be Matt McGee of Oak Ridge, Mo., a six time IPRA Announcer of the Year. Sophie Duch, 13, a trick rider and mounted shooter from Stilwell, will perform her “Annie Oakley Wild West Act” at the rodeo. Colten Ulmer will be the rodeo clown.
The rodeo is sanctioned by the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) and the American Cowboys Rodeo Association (ACRA) and is part of the Ram Rodeo Series.
Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer
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