Rodeo returns to WKU for 31st year

Sarah Stukenborg

Over the weekend, the Lone Star Rodeo Company brought WKU’s Ag Expo Center to life with raging bulls and fearless cowboys.

The Lone Star Championship Rodeo has been performing their annual show at the Ag Expo center for 31 years, and the show didn’t disappoint the fans in its crowded 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.

Preston Fowlkes Sr. started the Lone Star Rodeo Company in 1949 in Marfa, Texas, and the younger Fowlkes has managed it for the past 35 years. For the past 10 years, the company has resided in Crofton.

Fowlkes Jr. plans on handing the business down to his son and continuing to keep the rodeo in the family.

At the rodeo, cowboys were competitively judged on how long they managed to stay on their horse or bull.

Since rodeo acts can be dangerous at times with horse and bull riding, Jeff Corder, of the Bowling Green medical staff, said he wished to ensure all-around safety for the Ag Expo center.

“Our main function is to cover medical needs for crowd, staff and riders,” Corder said.

The show also featured competitive bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, cowgirls’ breakaway roping, steer wrestling, team roping, cowgirl barrel racing and Brahma bull riding.

The audience members at the rodeo ranged from first-timers to committed fans, and many were sporting cowboy boots and hats.

Bowling Green resident Tabitha Russel attended the show for a first-time experience.

“I think it’s awesome,” Russel said. “Calf roping is my favorite act.”