Last weekend, more than 1,500 people endured scorching 100-degree heat and high humidity to attend the 27th annual Irene Rodeo – and they had a blast!
“We had another successful rodeo weekend,” said organizer Kayla Lyngstad. “It was definitely a hot one, but we still had a great turnout and everyone had a great time. We had over 750 attendees each night. Even the heat couldn’t keep our dedicated fans and contestants away!”
This year’s rodeo featured more than 300 contestants in bare back riding, calf roping, ladies breakaway, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, bull riding, and more. Of course, the nightly kids shoe scramble and the kids’ Mutton Bustin’ events were enjoyed by the crowds as well.
“I think some of the other highlights this year would be our special entertainment, Hannah Ritter from Wild Together & Roman Trick Rider,” said Lyngstad. “She had a different performance for each night and she was amazing! I think the heat will definitely be something we remember, too, unfortunately!”
It’s not an easy task to put on a rodeo in a town the size of Irene, population approximately 400. Each year, it takes hundreds of volunteers to make the Irene Rodeo a success. The Irene Rodeo Committee, which works year-round to prepare for the rodeo, consists of about 30 members. But during rodeo weekend, hundreds of additional volunteers come forward to sell food and drinks, to clean-up the rodeo grounds each day, and to help manage the hundreds of people, animals, and horses that flood the town of Irene.
The first rodeo was held in Irene in 1993 as part of the town’s Centennial celebration that year. People loved the rodeo so much that they kept it going. Planning is already underway for next year’s rodeo, to be held the last weekend of June, 2020, said Lyngstad.