The smell of caramel corn, burgers, tacos and anticipation drifted through the air as crowds waited anxiously to enter the Madison County Fairgrounds for the Whoopee Days Rodeo Friday and Saturday evening.
Presented by Woody Smith Ford, the Whoopee Days Rodeo featured a variety of events including steer wrestling, bareback/saddle bronc riding, team roping, barrels and of course, bull riding.
Crowds laughed and cheered as the evening began with a pre-show of Mutton Bustin’, a classic rodeo event where small children ride sheep. The winners took home trophies taller than most of the competitors.
After the pre-show, the Whoopee Days royalty, riding their horses and dressed in their best riding gear, rode around the arena. The queen sported a crown on top of her hat. The Grand Marshals, Ken and Doug Sakota, waved to the crowd from the back of a Woody Smith Ford truck.
Next came the presentation of the flag, the singing of the national anthem and a prayer for safety. Rodeo royalty raced around the arena again presenting the sponsor flags, and then the main events began.
Rodeo announcer Chip Gasser shared banter with “The Green Hat Clown” Austin Singley in between events. Activities like a “throw out” of shirts and footballs got the crowd on their feet. At the halfway mark, Gasser and Singley invited groups of children 11 and under and then 11 and older to chase after the “cash cow,” a small calf with cash stuck to its body.
Crowds of children and adults climbed over the barriers and onto the arena floor with the hopes of winning a little bit of cash. The Green Hat Clown yelled out for them to start, initiating a sprinting race toward the terrified cow. After chasing the cow for a few minutes, lucky participants walked away with small cash prizes.
During the second half of the rodeo, one of the crowd favorites took place — team roping. Team roping involves two skilled ropers working together to ride after, rope and immobilize a steer.
Cody Hill, a Rexburg resident, competed in the team roping event with Chaz Kananen.
“I’ve been participating in rodeos as long as I can remember,” Hill said. “I love everything about it, the atmosphere, the competition, everything.”
Many BYU-Idaho students attended the rodeo for a chance to get out of the house and enjoy a fun night. With the Rexburg Farmers market taking place at the same time on Friday evening, rodeo-goers had a variety of options for delicious food and crafted goods.
Garrett Taylor, a junior studying mechanical engineering, came to the rodeo with his wife Cali, a junior studying food science. As Idaho natives, this was not the couple’s first rodeo.
“We came just because it’s a rodeo,” Taylor said. “I love the atmosphere. It’s a lot of fun and something we grew up doing. It’s nice to have one here in town and something to do in the warmer weather.”
Bailey Blacker, a senior studying child development, attended the rodeo with her roommate, a first-time rodeo goer.
“The weather was perfect,” Blacker said. “It was fun to show my roommate the rodeo since she’s never been before. I think she was surprised at how much fun it is.”
At the end of the day, crowds walked back to their cars with smiles on their faces and country songs stuck in their heads as the sun set on this year’s Whoopee Days Rodeo.