Kentucky rodeo celebrates 37 years visiting WKU

Cord Barricklow, 24, of Lebanon, Ind., is waiting amongst other competitors for the steer wrestling and calf roping for the Lone Star Rodeo Company at WKU L.D. Brown Ag Expo Center on Sat. Feb. 9, 2019. Barricklow was born into this profession and has done rodeo for his whole life.

Nicole Ziege

As country music blasted over the speakers of WKU’s L.D. Expo Agricultural Center Friday, a metal gate lifted, revealing a steer that started running into the center of the arena. Two men wearing cowboy hats raced their saddled horses along the sides of the steer.

In a matter of seconds, one of the riders—the contestant—jumped from the back of his horse onto the steer, grabbing its horns and pulling it to the ground. Once he forced it to roll onto its back, the crowd roared with applause. 

This was steer-wrestling, one of eight events taking place at the Lone Star Rodeo. Other featured events included bareback and saddle bronc riding, calf roping and Brahma bull riding.

Celebrating its 70th anniversary and 37th year performing in Bowling Green, the Lone Star Rodeo had more than 300 contestants competing for prize money and points to add to their final scores. The contestants travelled to the rodeo from about 15 different states, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Oklahoma and Maryland, with several from Ontario, Canada.

The rodeo’s performances took place on Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. 

Rachel Boyd, general manager and producer of the Lone Star Rodeo Company, said although Bowling Green provides a smaller venue for the rodeo, with about 2,500 seats, she enjoys stopping in the town in order to provide family-friendly entertainment.

“Because all of the performances feature live animals, you never know what might happen,” Boyd said.

Boyd said the event has been enjoyed by families for several generations since its start in 1949.

“That means a lot to us,” Boyd said, regarding the rodeo’s generational appeal. “It’s stuff like that that keeps us coming back to the town.”

Hartford sophomore Riley Brey said she has attended the rodeo since she was a kid. Brey worked as an usher for the event this year as a part of the Agricultural Education Society at WKU.

Brey said her favorite event would either be bronc riding or bull riding. In those events, a contestant rides on the back of a horse or a bull and tries to stay on its back for the longest amount of time.

“I love the adrenaline when they fall off,” Brey said, laughing. 

Misty Worr, a 46-year-old from Lebanon, Tennessee, said she attended the rodeo to root for her husband, Troy Worr. He was a previous national champion and was now competing in the steer wrestling competition.

Worr said she would be riding alongside him in the contest if she had not been diagnosed with breast cancer in August. Now in remission, she said she can’t wait to get back on the horse.

“I love the adrenaline that comes from it,” Worr said, regarding steer-wrestling and the rodeo. “It’s also a really good family-friendly atmosphere that you’ll experience nowhere else.”

News reporter Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.