Wild Wild Western: Rodeo takes over Ag Expo Center for the weekend

 A rodeo participant attempts to tackle a steer for the WKU rodeo on Feb. 9, 2013 at the L.D. Brown Agricultural Exposition Center.

Sarah Stukenborg

The Lone Star Rodeo Company brought dynamite, raging bulls and plenty of cowboys to WKU’s Ag Expo Center last weekend.

The Lone Star Championship Rodeo has been performing their annual show at the Ag Expo center for 31 years, and the show didn’t fail to fill the stands.

Karen Fowlkes, wife of Lone Star Rodeo Company manager, Preston Fowlkes Jr., said she looks forward to the performances in Bowling Green and enjoys being surrounded by family.

“All my family gets to be together,” Fowlkes said.

The whole family takes part in most shows, including Fowlkes’ 5-year-old granddaughter, who rides a horse standing up with both hands in the air.

The Lone Star Rodeo Company was started in 1949 by Preston Fowlkes Sr. in Marfa, Texas, and has been managed by Preston Fowlkes Jr. for the past 35 years. For the past 10 years, the company has resided in Crofton, Ky.

Lone Star puts on over 40 events per year in 11 different states. Preston Fowlkes Jr. plans on handing the business down to his son and continuing it into a third generation.

The audience ranged from first-timers to committed fans, many decked out in cowboy boots and hats.

Butler County resident Kelsey Smith has made the trip to Bowling Green many times to watch the show.

“I come with my family,” Smith said. “I really like the trick shows.”

The show featured comedy and trick acts that included clowns playing with fake dynamite, mechanical bulls and a woman riding while standing up.

There was also competitive bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, cowgirls’ breakaway roping, steer wrestling, team roping, cowgirl barrel racing and brahma bull riding.

Martin, Tenn. native Tyler Waltz, a bareback horse rider for the show, competed for the first time in Lone Star’s show. At 22 years old, Waltz has been competing since he was 11.

“It’s pretty much my life,” Waltz said. “It’s all I’ve ever known.”

Rodeo acts can be dangerous at times with horse and bull riding. The cowboys are competitively judged on how long they manage to stay on their horse or bull.

Salem, Ill. native Curtis Meador, a bull rider in the show, joined Lone Star because they had an opening, and he needed a job.

“I just travel and get into whatever I can get into,” he said.

After an injury, Meador was forced to take an eight-month break from his five-year riding career.

“I got beat up pretty bad,” Meador said.

Meador said winning isn’t as important to him as helping fellow riders out and seeing that everyone is safe.

“I’d rather see everyone go out and have a good ride,” Meador said.