Dozens of cowboys and cowgirls will be strapping their steers and dusting their hats in preparation for the Mcllwain Junior Rodeo this Saturday at Rockin' Mc Arena in Cedar Bluff on the farm of Jim and Vicki Mcllwain.
Saturday's event is the third in a summer series of rodeos that will be held once a month until August.
Vicki says there are a lot of kids in the area that are interested in participating in rodeos and this is a perfect way to come out and have fun.
“We are a rodeo family,” she said. “That's just what we do. “It's always been our goal to have something here each month for the kids as far as rodeo and horses.”
Competitions for the age groups, 13-under and 14-18 include barrel racing, pole bending, flag racing, arena racing, stake racing, goat tying, break away roping, team roping and junior bull riding. Series points will be kept towards the finals in September where all around belt buckles will be awarded to the top boy and girl in each age division.
For the Mcllwain's, rodeo is their their way of life. Daughter Sara Kate, 19, is on the EMCC rodeo team and son Monty, 18, are both active in the sport and teach riding lessons whenever they can. The family picked up where Mr. Floyd Young and his family left off.
“We have been blessed with this arena, good horses and livestock,” Jim said. “We just enjoy it. We normally ride and rope two to three times a week and have an arena full of kids. We just like to see everybody having fun.”
Noel Teaster is a local rider who has been involved in rodeo her whole life. She says it's not just about the competitions, it's fun to just kick back and enjoy the entertainment.
“It's so much fun to just sit there and watch other riders while your waiting for your turn,” she said. “I like watching the bulls and the goat tying.”
But her favorite event to watch is no doubt her specialty; barrel racing. The 15-year old admits it comes with challenges.
“It's pretty difficult,” she said. “You have to be able to use your feet and your hands to control the horse.”
Teaster also participates in the goat tying event, which she just picked up a few years ago. For novice rodeo fans, goat tying is where a rider on a horse races to the end of the arena, and tie three of the goats legs as fast as possible. Teaster's best is 17 seconds, but she admits it doesn't look easy.
“It's more challenging than barrel racing,” she said. “You have to remember your knots and tie the legs together just right.”
Riders will get penalized if the goat comes untied during the eight second tying window.
The all-day rodeo kicks off at 11 am for riders five and under and there will be several local politicians on hand to speak. For more information about the event, including fees and registration, contact Vicki or Jim at 662-494-3116.