Annual Gerald rodeo features thrills and spills for everyone

The Gerald Bridle and Saddle club hosted a rodeo this past Friday and Saturday nights at their arena in City Park. The family-style event featured both young and mature competitors. Friday night’s mutton busting was a crowd pleaser. Children used different techniques when riding sheep to see who could stay mounted the longest. One young girl sedately rode the mutton while hanging on to the lead (photo below). A boy chose to just hang on for dear life during his ride (above). Over three inches of rain Thursday night left large puddles in the arena when the rodeo opened on Friday. One such puddle may have softened the blow as one young rider lost his seat and splashed into the water (above right). On Saturday evening, an eight-year old did her best to hang onto her mount during the pole race. She began sliding off the side of her horse as it rounded a pole (bottom left) and eventually fell to the ground. Unfortunately, the puddles had mostly dried up when she took her tumble. There was speculation that the spill was a result of the rap music blaring from the speakers, but that theory has not been substantiated. Soon after, more traditional country music accompanied the riders. After catching her breath, the child left the arena back in the saddle again. The bleachers were about half-filled for the event, with the majority of the crowd lining the arena or watching from the grassy hillside in lawn chairs or truck beds. The Ozark Rodeo Association produced the event.