Gainesville Saddle Club to host rodeo and fun show each month through October
Update: The May 22 rodeo has been rescheduled to May 27, and the May 24 fun show has been rescheduled for May 31.
The Gainesville Saddle Club grounds will be a hoppin’ place this summer and fall with a full lineup of rodeos and fun shows scheduled, beginning Friday, May 22, with a rodeo presented by the West Plains-based J&H Rodeo company, followed by a fun show at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 24.
Saddle Club president Konnie Plumlee said the club hosted fun shows but no rodeos last year and wanted “to do something for Gainesville, give people something fun to do this summer” in bringing two events to the saddle club grounds each month of the summer and fall.
Saddle Club-sponsored fun shows, which will start at 6 p.m. with a few exceptions, are scheduled for these Sundays: May 24, June 21, July 19, Aug. 16, Sept. 13 and Oct. 25. The May 24, Sept. 13 and Oct. 25 fun shows start at 3 p.m.
Gainesville rodeos, which begin at 7 p.m., are set for these Fridays: May 22, June 19, July 17, Aug. 14 and Sept. 11. The rodeos bring in money for the saddle club through the club’s cookshack, which serves food during the rodeo, and also through the rental fees the rodeo company pays the club for each event.
J&H Rodeo will also produce monthly rodeos at the 101 Saddle Club arena on Highway 160 in Caulfield on these Fridays: June 5, July 3 and 31, Aug. 28 and Sept. 25. The July 3 rodeo in Caulfield is a two-part fundraiser event to benefit the Caulfield Volunteer Fire Department. J&H will produce a fun show beginning that Friday at 4:30 p.m., to be followed by an ACA rodeo that begins at 7 p.m.
J&H Rodeo co-owner Jesse Wright told the Times Monday that his rodeos are “family fun” events that include competitions for participants of all ages, beginning as young as 2 or 3. “Basically, we’re more about the little kids,” he said. “We have some mini bulls that weigh 1,200 to 1,500 pounds. We put a flank around them and load them in a bucking chute. Then the parents or the stock contractor or I will get in there with them. When they open the chute, the bull walks out with them on it, and they ride the bull. There’s actually an association of little kids that go to Las Vegas and win big checks for these mini-bull ‘walk-outs,’” he said, adding that at one of his recent rodeos, a 5-year-old won $90 for his mini-bull-riding skill and style.
Classes are offered for all ages in groups ranging from 5 and younger to adults 17 and older, including an “over-50” team roping class. A typical J&H Rodeo lineup offers stick horse races, mutton busting, bull walk-outs and bull-riding, and barrel and pole racing.
Wright, who has four children ages 3, 6, 8 and 11, runs the business with his girlfriend, Hailey Pliller. Those who buy memberships in the rodeo series can accumulate points for participating in multiple rodeos and win personalized rodeo buckles after the “finals,” which will be held Sept. 11 in Gainesville and Sept. 25 in Caulfield.
Entry fees will range from about $35 for some of the kids’ events to $50 for the traditional adult bull- and bucking-bronc-riding competitions, he said. The gate fees for spectators will be $5 for those age 15 and older, $2 for those age 6-14 and free for age 5 and younger.
“It’ll be a blast,” Wright said. “I’m not really out to make no money but just to give the kids something to do besides drugs and alcohol.”
For more information, visit the J&H Rodeo Co. and Gainesville Saddle Club Facebook pages.