K-State rodeo celebrates 75 years, home event this weekend

The 2019 K-State Ranch Rodeo took place in Weber Arena, where visitors would auction for the various four-person teams. (Archive photo by Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

As Weber Hall fills with cheering crowds, music, animals and hundreds of competitors, Kansas State’s rodeo team will make its return to the home stadium this weekend for the 75-year celebration of the K-State rodeo.

K-State will compete in its annual intercollegiate rodeo this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, hosting 450 contestants. This past year’s home rodeo was canceled because of COVID-19 capacity restrictions, and the team is eager to return.

“We’ve got freshmen and sophomores both that haven’t experienced rodeo in Weber, and so they’re really excited to have that experience with the crowds and all that goes along with that,” Casy Winn, rodeo coach and instructor in animal sciences and industry, said.

Although this past season’s home event was canceled, the team still traveled to nine other events for competition. However, nothing can beat a home crowd for Kenzie Jones, a graduate student in veterinary biomedical science, who has competed with the rodeo team for three years.

“It is exciting that we get to be back with rodeo, especially at Weber,” Jones said. “It’s something special when Weber is full, packed with purple, Saturday night with standing room only. It’s very remarkable, so it’s exciting for that to be back. Myself and my teammates are excited to compete at home.”

Jones will compete in breakaway and goat tying, events she has participated in during all three years on the team. In breakaway roping, the rider has a flag tied to the end of their rope and a string attached from the rope to the saddle horn. After the calf is roped, the string breaks away and the attached flag will fly, signally for the clock to stop.

“For me, this is my last year here, I’m a master’s student, so I was here for my junior and senior year and then master’s,” Jones said. “This is my last rodeo at home, and I’m excited for that. It’ll be cool to share with a bunch of other teammates, and like coach said, our freshmen and sophomores have never experienced Weber, and it’s pretty remarkable, so I’m very excited for them to experience that too.”

As a part of the great plain region, one of the largest in the country, the K-State home rodeo is sure to be bustling with fans.

“It’s a lot of work but cool to do,” Winn said. “It’s one of the highest attended events in college rodeo across the country, as well as one of the — if not the largest — student-run events here at K-State as far as number of fans and contestants.”

Events will run from Friday, Feb. 18, to Sunday, Feb. 20. Friday will include slack from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a performance from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. On Saturday, slack runs from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., as well as the 7:30 p.m. performance. Sunday will feature the top-ten short rounds.

“Kids Day is 1-3 p.m. Saturday, where kids get in with a canned-good donation to the food bank,” Winn said. “Saturday night is Purple Night. Sunday is Military Appreciation Day, and we’ll have the mounted color guard here to do a pre-show and have that rodeo at 1 p.m.”

Tickets to Weber are available at Yee Haw Country Outfitters, Outpost Western Store, Orscheln’s, Call Hall and ieDiscoveries. Adult prices are $10 presale or $15 at the door, and students and military are $8 presale or $10 at the door. The performances will be live-streamed on the Cowboy Channel app.