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Rodeo adds to Ag Expo experience

July 30, 1998

Bronco riderBy TERI JOHNSON / Staff Writer

Are you feeling saddled by job responsibilities that don't give you enough time with family and friends?

Round them up and head to the championship rodeo at Washington County Ag Expo Saturday night.

The show, presented by Dave Martin's Championship Rodeos of Gettysburg, Pa., begins at 8 p.m. at Washington County Agricultural Education Center on Sharpsburg Pike.

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Saturday night's $10 admission cost includes the rodeo, and children 8 and younger get in free.

The rodeo will include bareback and saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, cowgirls' barrel racing, Brahma bull riding and mutton bustin'.

Professional riders will compete for about $5,000 in prizes, Martin says.

Area children will be able to participate in mutton bustin' by riding sheep. Children can sign up during the event when they hear the announcement.

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Mutton bustin' and bull riding are two of the most popular parts of the show, Martin says. Another crowd pleaser is Jory Jacques of Shidler, Okla., also known as The Bovine Dominator.

Jacques, accompanied by his mustang and blackmouth cur dogs, gets three bulls to jump from the ground onto the back of an aluminum cattle trailer, then onto the roof of the trailer.

Last year's bull riding event at Ag Expo, also presented by Martin, drew between 3,500 and 4,000 spectators, says Tom Shaw, an Ag Expo board member who is in charge of entertainment for the weeklong event.

"This year we wanted to try something different," Shaw says.

If you've never been to a rodeo before, each event is easy to follow because the announcer tells the audience the rules, Martin says.

Martin, who has been in the rodeo business for 25 years, is giving about 70 performances this year. Saturday night, he also is presenting Dave Martin's Bullride Mania at Shippensburg Community Fair Arena in Shippensburg, Pa.

Once folks have been to a rodeo, they're hooked, Martin says. He estimates that about 80 percent of his audiences have attended before.

Many people think rodeos just appeal to men, but that's not the case, Martin says. According to a survey he conducted, women make up about 60 percent of his audience.

A fascination with rodeos and cowboys is part of our American heritage, says Martin, 44, who started riding bulls when he was 16.

"Cowboys exemplify freedom, and they are pretty much their own boss," he says.

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