Entertainment takes many forms today.
Especially considering what there was for families to do more than eight decades ago. It takes considerable coordination above and beyond to attract crowds to anything nowadays.
The Flint Hills Rodeo Association has met the challenge, garnering filled bleachers every performance, like for the 81st anniversary edition, May 30 through June 2, 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 Stacy Davis, Roy Fillmore, Angela Hatcher, Bryant Heins, Chad Holloway, Tom Jones, Shayla Lowry, Pat Swift, Carl Wagoner, 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 more than 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 of Greeley, Colorado. Currently, Cervi Rodeo produces 10 of the top 50 rodeos in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).
In the past eight years, nearly 100 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 Stock Show 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 the breeding program for the company’s bucking bulls, oversees the management of staff that works each rodeo, tends to the Cervi saddle horses and all of the other livestock 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 (NFR) in Las Vegas.
Announcer Roger Mooney is also in a repeat performance calling the action and excitement for the Flint Hills Rodeo this year.
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 a 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.
The most diversified Western showman, Rider Kiesner, Ripley, Oklahoma, trick roper, trick rider, rodeo clown and rodeo bull fighter, is a special attraction for this year’s Flint Hills Rodeo.
Kiesner grew up in a family who entertained at rodeos, and when he became an adult, the talented all-around cowboy entertainer struck out on his own.
Since then, Rider Kiesner has worked such prestigious shows as Cavalia, a world-wide touring equestrian show; the National Finals Rodeo the last three years; Cheyenne Frontier Days and many more.