It’s the event sure to bring a smile to any rodeo fan’s face: mutton bustin'.
Each night during the rodeo, kids ages 4 through 7 hold on tight for the ride of their lives on the back of a sheep.
“Anytime you have kids it’s a crowd favorite,” said Joe Martin, whose 7-year-old daughter, Isabella, competed in her second mutton bustin’ event Monday night. “You never know what the unexpected might be.”
Ask Isabella, and she’ll tell you there’s no strategy - just hold on tight.
As soon as the rodeo gets underway, volunteers help the teeny cowboys and cowgirls strap on their helmets and limber up- with none other than the Hokey Pokey.
“Their biggest question is always ‘how do I get off the sheep?’” said organizer, Barbara Kelso. “And you don’t want to tell them to just fall off, so you say just hold on tight.”
While there are always some tears, after the crowd cheers and each kid gets their trophy, they walk away with a smile- and maybe even a lesson learned.
“I think it teaches them a little about being in front of a crowd and sportsmanship. Its not whether you win or lose, but that you have fun,” said Martin.
"You know, these are the little cowgirls and cowboys that want to grow up to be the barrel racers and bull riders and steer ropers, so it gets them involved early on,” Kelso said.
Each night one child wins the competition and receives a belt buckle, but every participant walks away with a trophy.