Ridin’ tough

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 19, 2006

Where have all the cowboys gone? To the West Alabama Rodeo in Demopolis, thanks to the hard work and coordinated effort of the WA Rodeo Committee and the 3R Rodeo Company. “We were pleased with the turnout, and I think everyone had a good time,” committee chairman Deitsi Lewis said. “I think it brought the community together.”

Dale Ray, the West Alabama Rodeo head and 3R Rodeo Company director has been working with the committee to make the weekend’s events a success. “We had a nice crowd. Next year I hope it will be twice as good,” Ray said. “These were very nice folks to work with.” Ray’s rodeo is sanctioned by the Professional Cowboys Association and, and is the owner of the 3R Rodeo Company. The cowboy has been around cattle and horses for many years, and got his start in the rodeo business 15 years ago. “We do 25 rodeos a year,” Ray said. “I’ve never done anything but work with these animals.”

The West Alabama Rodeo Committee members were Kay Geiger, Ann Smith, Karen Trotman, Carol Sorrells, Dale Smith, Laurie Ann Cameron, Brandy Davis, Stacey Pearson, Charlie Stroud, and committee chairman Deitsi Lewis.

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The audience at the rodeo seemed to be enjoying the events and gave positive responses.

“I am having a good time and it’s a lot of fun,” Kristin Myers, 16-year-old Demopolis High School cheerleader and audience member, said. Lauren Eunice, 15-year-old West Alabama Prep Student of Demopolis, participated in the barrel-racing event at the rodeo this weekend. “She been doing it since she was little,” Lauren’s friend, Kristin Myers, said.

Although the events during the show were triumphant, things could have gone a great deal better for one bull rider after the rodeo was over.

Contestant Mike Sias decided to go for another round during “slack time,” just after the rodeo was over.

“I got on him during the show and he was a winner. I wanted to ride him again so that’s why I got back on him. I wanted to do it again and there’s no doubt about it,” Sias said. “Everything felt good at first.”

Unfortunately, the success and safety of this bull ride only lasted for a short moment.”He slammed me against the fence and then he came around and pulled me down,” Sias said. “He threw me down on the ground and then everything just went black,” Sias said. “I don’t remember much after I hit the ground, and don’t even remember going over the fence. I just know I was hurting and they were trying to get the bleeding stopped.”

One audience member recalled the attack. “The bull came up and bucked him,” 13-year-old Wesley Watts said. “He came out of the fence.” According to rodeo director Dale Ray, the injuries from the attack “were middle of the road.”

Although the attack was alarming for others, the close call didn’t seem to damper the injured bull rider’s spirits.”I will be out for a while, but I will be back at it again,” Sias said.

Most of the other saddle bronc and bull riders at the rodeo spoke with the same confidence that Sias did. “No guts no glory,” 21-year-old contestant Billy Jo Berry said.

Many of the riders started learning how to bull ride at very young ages, and some went to training facilities for the sport such as Sankey Bull Riding School.

“Last year I got rookie of the year for the southeast,” 17-year-old bull rider Brandon Godsey said. “I was on for eight seconds the first time I rode.”

“I’ve been saddle bronc riding for 14 years,” rodeo contestant Tyler Humble said. “I’m third generation.”

Rodeo announcer Woody Woodruff hosted the WA Rodeo, which was held behind the Foscue House on Highway 80 on Friday and Saturday night.

“We had cowboys and cowgirls from four different states,” rodeo director Dale Ray said. Each of the evening’s events included bull riding, steer wrestling, bareback riding, calf roping, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and saddle bronc riding.

Several of the contestants were having a hard time with their horses during a few of the events. “The horse knows what’s going on, and it’s like a three-year-old on a sugar rush,” Woodruff said.

The seven through 12-year-olds had so much fun doing the calf scramble, one of them lost track of all of their clothing. “We’ve got a lost shoe in the arena,” Woodruff said. There were a number of other events planned for kids that wanted to participate including mutton bustin’, the pig scramble, little wranglers and calf dressing.

The WA Rodeo was sponsored by Southern Pipe, Parr’s, AMA Design, Gibbs&Sellers, Quail Valley, Baugh Chevrolet, Windham Chevrolet, Gaddy Electric, WIN 98.5 and Alabama Tractor.