The Wild Wild West Rodeo adds an event opening Thursday night and the first performance in almost a decade by a local equestrian training team.
Gates open at 5pm at Southwest Horseman’s Arena at 2 Caballero Road and the rodeo begins at 7pm. Tickets are on sale at Circle Heart Western Wear, 2640 US 180 E., and Circle S Western Emporium in Deming for $10. Tickets at the gate are $15.
Corre Caminos offers nightly bus service from the Grant County Veterans Memorial Business and Conference Center parking lot for $1 each way.
Like many events, the pandemic has changed the rodeo that has been part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for 21 years. After the event was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, the rodeo was revived as an open rodeo instead of a professional rodeo, shortened from four nights to two nights.
Southwest Horsemanns Association member Kim Clark said this year marked the third year the Southwest Horsemens Association has partnered with the Casper Baka Rodeo Company’s Renegade Rodeo Tour, marking Day Three. Night action will be added.
The event kicks off with Thursday night bull riding.
“When we were doing PRCA, we were doing Boys and the Bulls on Wednesday nights. But this year we’re bringing back Thursday Night Bullfest, and it’s always been a crowd favourite,” Clark said.
The Wild Wild West Drill Team will also return to the arena this year. According to original team member Bonnie Rocco, the group has been inactive for about nine years.
An eight-member equestrian training team performs routines before the rodeo on Friday and Saturday nights. Team member Bell Graham said you should arrive by 6pm to enjoy both the slaughterhouse and the training team.
There is also a full rodeo on Friday and Saturday nights including bareback riding, saddle bronc, bull riding, breakaway roping, tie-down roping, barrel racing and team roping.
According to Clark, the open rodeo will allow local and regional participants who are not professional cowboys or cowgirls to join the Renegade Rodeo Tour participants.
“Contestants are based in Arizona and New Mexico, and some are locals,” she said. “Barrel racing and team roping are usually events with a lot of local participation.”
“Mutton bustin,” in which children in the audience participate in riding sheep, is also a popular event, Clark said, taking place before the main rodeo on Friday and Saturday nights. Parents can enroll their child between the ages of 2 and her 6 years old with Circle Heart Western Wear. She has a capacity of 15 children each night.
The annual Humphreys Enterprise Exceptional Rodeo for contestants with special needs will be held Saturday at 5pm.
Bart Davis of Coppertown Crown and his matry crew provide entertainment.
“He has 10 or 12 dogs that he rescued from a shelter and uses them in his skits,” Clark said.
Davis and other rodeo crew members are scheduled to attend a handshake event at 1st New Mexico Bank on 1928 US 180 E on Friday from 11am to 2pm. The event includes refreshments, a raffle for free rodeo tickets, and some memorabilia.
The Lone Mountain 4-H Club sponsors a post-rodeo youth dance on Friday and Saturday nights. Admission is $8.
The rodeo grounds are lined with food and craft stalls, and even feature mechanical bulls for the adventurous spectators.
— Juno Ogle