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(AUDIO) World champs, Husker favorites to compete in Hastings rodeo

(AUDIO) World champs, Husker favorites to compete in Hastings rodeo
A cowgirl rounds a barrel at the 2013 Oregon Trail Rodeo. This year’s rodeo is August 26-28 at the Adams Co. Fairgrounds in Hastings. Photo by Jorn Olsen.

Hastings, Neb. (August 22, 2016) – An exciting weekend is planned for Hastings.

The annual Oregon Trail Rodeo stampedes into the Adams Co. Fairgrounds on August 26-28, with plenty of things to do, inside and outside the arena.

Fans are treated to more than just rodeo, said rodeo co-chairwoman Trish Hinrichs. A free dance for all ticket holders will be held following the Sat., August 27 night of rodeo, and will feature the local band “Whiskey Bent.” All ticket holders for the Sun., August 28 night of rodeo get a free barbecue from 3-5 pm. “We make sure our fans get their money’s worth,” Hinrichs said.

The action in the arena will be just as good. World champions, along with some of Nebraska’s best cowboys and cowgirls, will compete in the seven standard PRCA events: bareback riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, team roping, women’s barrel racing, and bull riding.

Reigning world champion saddle bronc rider (and the number one ranked man in the pro rodeo standings) Jacobs Crawley, Boerne, Texas, will ride on Saturday night, as will his brother, Sterling Crawley, who is ranked twelfth in the world standings. Brothers Ty Breuer and Casey Breuer will also be on hand, in the bareback riding. The cowboys, from Mandan, N.D., are ranked eleventh and twenty-second, respectively, in the world standings.

Other nationally known cowboys competing in Hastings include the 2009 World Champion Team Roper Nick Sartain, Dover, Okla., and several multiple-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) qualifiers: saddle bronc rider Cody DeMoss, tie-down roper Jerome Schneeberger, and steer wrestler (and Valentine native) Linn Churchill. His wife, Trula, will barrel race in town; she has been to the WNFR three times.

For contestants who are vying for a berth at the Wrangler National Finals, held every December in Las Vegas, they are looking to earn as much money as possible; the rodeo year ends Sept. 30. On that date, the top fifteen in the world standings in each event qualify for the Finals.

Home-grown talent in Hastings will include steer wrestler Richard Coats, of Hastings. Coats graduated from Adams Central High School in 2009 and from Hastings College in 2013 with a degree in business administration. He often travels with his brother-in-law and fellow steer wrestler, Justen Nokes, of Juniata. Nokes, who will steer wrestle in Hastings, has been the Hastings College rodeo coach for the last seven years. Another Juniata man, Brady Hageman, will also compete.

One of the biggest rodeo stars that Nebraska has produced is Kyle Whitaker of Chambers. The 39 year old cowboy has won the Linderman Award seven times (1997-98, 2003, 2005-2006, 2011, 2015). The award is given to the cowboy who wins at least $1,000 in each of three events, and those events must include at least one roughstock event (bareback riding, saddle bronc riding or bull riding) and at least one timed event (tie-down roping, team roping or steer wrestling). Whitaker, who is married with three daughters, usually rides saddle broncs in addition to tie-down roping and steer wrestling, but in Hastings will only rope and steer wrestle.

Other notable Nebraska contestants include Wrangler National Finals qualifiers June Holeman, barrel racer from Arcadia; steer wrestler Dru Melvin, Hebron, and Trula Churchill, barrel racer from Valentine.

The rodeo will feature a Tough Enough to Wear Pink day on August 27. Fans are asked to wear pink, to show support and awareness of cancer. For every fan wearing pink, one dollar will be donated to the Morrison Cancer Center. Over the past nine years, over $25,000 has been given to help cancer patients at the Center.

The rodeo kicks off at 7 pm on Friday and Saturday and at 5 pm on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at the gate or at the Adams Co. Fairgrounds. They are $20 for stadium seating, $15 for reserve seating, and $10 for general admission. Tickets for children ages 6-12 are $5 for general admission; in the stadium and reserve seating, children pay the same price as adults.

For more information, visit the website at AdamsCountyFairgrounds.com or call 402.462.3247.

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