Fair: Rodeo kicks off nightly entertainment

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Josh Rainier of Groveport took third place in the tie-down roping competition at the 2021 Madison County Fair rodeo.

(Posted July 8, 2022)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Broken Horn Rodeo returns to the Madison County Fair with an expanded list of events.

Set for 7 p.m. July 9, the rodeo includes the usuals – saddle bronc riding, bareback horse riding, steer wrestling, tie-down calf roping, barrel racing, team roping, and bull riding. New to the list is breakaway roping for female competitors.

Breakaway roping is a variation of calf roping in which the calf is roped but not thrown and tied. It requires a competitor to lasso a calf from atop a horse. Once the rope is around the calf’s neck, the rider signals the horse to stop suddenly. The rope is tied to the saddle horn with a string. When the calf hits the end of the rope, the rope is pulled tight and the string breaks. A white flag or handkerchief tied to the end of the rope helps the timer see the moment the rope breaks. The rider with the fastest time wins.

Broken Horn added breakaway roping to give cowgirls on the rodeo circuit more opportunities to earn points leading up to finals competition in January.

“It’s quite fun!” said Sandra McElroy, who has operated Broken Horn with her husband, Jim, since 1991. The outfit is based in Ripley, Ohio, and sanctioned by the International Professional Rodeo Association and the American Professional Rodeo Association.

Spectators can expect to see both pros and amateurs in the competition at the fair. They come from all over the United States.

“We had a really good rodeo at the Madison County Fair last year. It was awesome,” Sandra said, adding that the event attracted an unusually large number of bareback and saddle bronc riders.

She encourages everyone to come out and enjoy the competition, saying it’s wholesome fun. The caliber of the cowboys and cowgirls is top-notch, she said, and the rodeo’s funnyman (the clown) is great about getting the crowd involved. The funny man, the bull fighters, and many of the cowboys and cowgirls are happy to sign autographs.

“It’s family entertainment. Even grandmas and grandpas like it,” Sandra said.

Dean Harris, a Madison County resident, will once again sing the National Anthem at the start of the rodeo.

Youngsters have a chance to get in on the rodeo action with stick horse races. There’s no entry fee and no need to register ahead of time. Entrants are divided into two age groups–5 and younger, and 6 to 9. Winners receive bicycles. This year’s prize sponsors are Mason & Sons Dumpsters, Dena King with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Diamond J Quarterhorses, and Reiterman Feed & Supply.

General admission to the rodeo is free with paid gate admission to the fair. Watch and listen for Dean Harris, a Madison County resident, to once again sing the National Anthem at the start of the event.

The rodeo sponsor is BST Trucking.

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