It’ll almost seem like the pages of history have turned back in time more than a century and a half.
“Buffalo just like those roamed the Flint Hills in the 1800s will be star attraction of the 21st annual Junction City Rodeo Friday and Saturday, July 18-19, at the Geary County Fairgrounds, 1025 South Spring Valley Road, Junction City,” announced Darryl Blocker, official of the Junction City Rodeo Association.
However, rodeo is what the action is really all about, clarified Blocker. Recognized as one of the “largest open rodeos in Kansas,” contestants from all over the state come to compete in the performances at 7:30 each evening.
“This is an open competition rodeo which offers competition in several different events and provides exciting action for the entire family to enjoy. Come watch the saddle broncs, bareback riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and bull riding,” Blocker explained.
Each night, the kids’ events will include a calf scramble, mutton busting, mini bull riding and junior barrel racing, the rodeo official said. A Special Needs Rodeo is also scheduled Saturday, July 19, from 10 o’clock to noon, with information available at 785-210-6538.
“For those who haven’t heard of the company, it was originated by John Payne, who lost an arm in an electrical construction accident, but never let that completely get him down, developing a rodeo act with horses, Longhorns and buffalo. Last year, his daughter Amanda and her family were here, and entertained by loading horses on the back of a trailer in the arena.
“This year, his son Lynn will bring buffalo from their Shidler, Oklahoma, ranch, and load them on top of another large stock trailer in an extraordinaire presentation of a talented well-mounted cowboy working expertly, effectively with large typically fierce animals native to the Flint Hills of Kansas,” Blocker promised.
“In the 1860s, buffalo were 60 million strong, dominating the landscape. It was often said ‘Buffalo were so plentiful that a man could walk horizon to horizon on their backs and never touch the ground.’ Herds could be 100 miles across, taking days to pass; when stampeded they can run a distance of 30 miles, at 30 miles an hour,” Blocker clarified.
“Embedded deep in North American history, buffalo have left a rich and unequalled legacy of feeding a struggling nation in its infancy. An integral part of early-day Wild West Shows and now in rodeo the buffalo deserve the right, and have paid the price, to truly be: a celebrated American icon. You’ll get to see them at the Junction City Rodeo,” John Payne verified.