Junior rodeo kicks off Labor Day weekend

Rodeo is in Fallon’s DNA.

Since the town’s inception a century ago, many great cowboys and cowgirls have flocked to the Lahontan Valley and many have called Fallon home and gone off to amazing careers in the collegiate and professional arenas. With all the success that can come from competing in rodeos, you have to start somewhere.

And why not the Fallon Lion’s Club Junior Rodeo?

For almost 50 years, the junior rodeo has been the place to be over Labor Day weekend in Fallon as young boys and girls suit up in their Wrangler jeans and button-down shirts, sporting a smile that stretches across the county arena. The junior rodeo can be the starting point for anyone looking to not only have fun but for those who want to make a career.

“It’s very important. There is a lot of kids here,” said first-year organizer Jennifur Peek, who has 126 contestants competing this weekend. “It’s their life. It’s not just an event. It’s their lifestyle. For them to compete in a hometown rodeo, it’s very important to them. They work all year long to compete in these junior rodeos.”

A team of 100-plus volunteers helped put this event together and it starts with Peek, her husband Travis, former national and high school rodeo queen Loni Faught, Teresa and Les Hiibel, and Fallon Lions Club’s Bob Leeman and Carol Leanza.

“I feel like the numbers are up and the interest is greater for rodeo,” Jennifur Peek said. “I did not grow up around this. It’s a little different for me. For my kids, it’s their life. We’re around it a lot and I see it growing.”

The four-day rodeo kicks off tonight at the county fairgrounds with the first-ever queen contest at 6 p.m. when six contestants, ages 6-13, will compete in four categories — prepared speech, horsemanship, overall appearance and overall personality. Points from the queen contest will be added to the overall rodeo competition performance score. The winner will be announced Saturday night.

A former national high school rodeo queen brought this year’s queen contest to life.

“Experience is something you can’t replace,” Faught said. “The opportunity of being a rodeo queen is immeasurable and it’s a great conversation topic. We’re kind of a dying breed. It’s kind of a fun conversation piece.”

Rodeo competition doesn’t begin until Saturday at 9 a.m. and runs on Sunday and Monday, as well. Sunday’s events begin at 8 a.m. and Monday’s events start after the parade at 11 a.m. Events include calf riding, chute dogging, steer riding, sack roping, PeeWee mutton bustin, steer daubing, steer stopping, team roping, mixed ribbon roping, barrel racing, pole bending, calf roping, run-ride-lead, goat tying, breakaway and figure 8.

Admission is free to all events.

Outside of the competition, you can participate in the team roping at 6 p.m. on Saturday followed by the dance in the Dry Gulch at 8 p.m. A pig scramble and goat branding will take place after the rodeo on Sunday and there’s the parade on Monday at 10 a.m.

“I’m just excited for the whole event,” Peek said. “This year we are trying to make it a family event from start to finish so we brought back the Saturday dance and family night on Sunday night.”

Thomas Ranson can be contacted at lvnsports@yahoo.com.


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