Entertainment takes many forms today.
Especially considering what there was for families to do eight decades ago. It takes considerable coordination above and beyond to attract crowds to anything.
The Flint Hills Rodeo Association has met the challenge, garnering filled bleachers every performance, like for the 80-anniversary edition June 1-2-3 at Strong City.
“There’ll be the very best Western action with the very best livestock, contestants, and additional unique special attractions,” according to Buck Bailey, association president.
“A jam-packed three days of festivities are lined up in conjunction with the rodeo,” Bailey said. “Special kids events are planned, there’s the trade show, the big rodeo parade, dances, fun for all.”
Mike Swift serves as vice president and Jean Fillmore is secretary.
Additional directors include Cheryl Bailey, Larry Cannon, Chris Cooper, Clay Cooper, Stacy Davis, Roy Fillmore, Kyle Gibb, Mike Gibb, Bryant Heins, Chad Holloway, Tom Jones, Shayla Lowry, Kim Reyer, Mike Swift, Joe Tucker, Carl Wagoner, Jon Weiss and Dow Wilson.
Foremost ingredient for rodeo is livestock and contestants. “We have the best of both,” Bailey assured. “There’ll be a number of world champions and former world champion cowboys and cowgirls here this year.”
Likewise, the rodeo livestock in a repeat appearance at Strong City is world champion caliber, proven hands down.
Started over 60 years ago, Cervi Championship Rodeo has grown into the largest stock contractor for rodeo productions across the United States.
Mike Cervi, founder, began his rodeo career at age 14, traveling across North America from the great plains of Texas to the rolling hills of Grand Prairie Alberta, Canada serving as a rodeo clown.
Throughout the years, the Cervi family has acquired the two largest companies in the rodeo business. In 1967, they bought the renowned Beutler Brothers Rodeo Company and in 1974 purchased the Billy Minick Rodeo Company, formerly owned by well-known producers Harry Knight and Gene Autry.
With the acquisitions, Cervi became the largest stock contractor in the nation and renamed the company Cervi Championship Rodeo. Currently, Cervi Rodeo produces 10 of the top 50 rodeos in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).
In the past seven years, 90 head of Cervi Championship Rodeo livestock have been selected for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Cervi Championship Rodeo’s main goal as a renowned stock contracting company is to produce fast and exciting rodeo with the best bucking stock available,” Bailey verified.
Binion Cervi, executive director, has experience in every aspect of rodeo production. Beginning his career while still in elementary school, Binion earned pocket change at the National Western Rodeo by shining shoes and boots for cowboys and patrons.
In his early teens, Binion orchestrated a top trick-riding specialty act, which he performed at rodeos all around the country.
“Today, Binion heads up the production of rodeos, oversees the successful breeding program for Cervi bucking horses, manages the finances, and is the face of public relations for Cervi Championship Rodeo,” Bailey said.
“Having experienced the ‘show business’ part of rodeo through his trick-riding acts, Binion is now incorporating these skills to highlight Cervi Rodeo productions with audience appealing openings, closings and specialty acts that illustrate American patriotism and western heritage.
“These ‘little extras’ at Cervi Championship Rodeos provide fans a great feeling about the performances and an added appreciation for the Western way of life,” Bailey guaranteed.
Chase Cervi, ranch manager and pickup man, is involved in the behind-the-scenes organization of the company.
He manages a breeding program for the company’s bucking bulls, oversees the management of staff that works each rodeo, and tends to the Cervi saddle horses and all other stock at the rodeos.
“Rodeo cowboys value their relationship with Chase and talking to him about the Cervi stock and rodeo,” Bailey said.
As a pickup man, Chase has acquired and developed the ability to anticipate the moves of the bucking horses and the needs of the bronc riders.
In 2010 and again in 2014 and 2015, the top 20 bareback riders and saddle bronc riders in the world standings selected Chase as a pickup man to work the National Finals Rodeo.
Announcer Roger Mooney is also in a repeat performance calling the action for the Flint Hills Rodeo.
Born and raised in Ellijay, Georgia, Mooney’s career began by accident in 1984 when in college, he stepped in for the scheduled rodeo announcer who had a heart attack.
In short time, Mooney went from being a contestant to one of the best announcers on the circuit with announcing accolades that include the NFR, Calgary Stampede, Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo, National High School Rodeo Finals and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Announcer of the Year.
John Harrison is a noted rodeo clown and barrel man.
He comes by his profession honestly. His late grandfather was rodeo legend, Freckles Brown, who rode the “unrideable” bull Tornado, the subject of Western Music songs, and was a world champion bull rider.
“John was around rodeo and rodeo people his whole life,” Bailey said. “He became a PRCA member in 1999, as a trick and roman rider, and trick roper. John later diversified and added barrel man to his PRCA card.”