Clovis News: Sports

Q&A guide to your rodeo ride

Rodeos aren't just about punching a few dogies or racing around barrels, and they aren't popular just in the West.

But they seem to attract a diverse crowd.

Clovis Rodeo surveys show its fans also like extreme BMX riding, skateboarding and NASCAR.

New rodeo visitors may not be familiar with what goes on inside and outside the arena. And even some long-timers might not have the full scoop on the Clovis Rodeo, now in its 95th year.

Here are some tidbits and fast facts about the rodeo:

Are bulls really mean?

Mark Thompson, this year's Clovis Rodeo Association president, said many of the one-ton behemoths are not mean, except for eight seconds in the arena.

"It's in the genes: They are born to buck," he said.

But, he admits there are still some he would not go near.

The way bulls are pampered by stock contractors, Thompson said, being reincarnated as a bull might not be a bad gig.

How tough are bull riders?

These guys are gamers. In 2005, Cody Hancock fell from a bull at the Clovis Rodeo and lost half an ear when the bull stepped on him. He continued competing that day with his ear bandaged.

The following day, Roper Kiesner, 11, a pint-sized trick roper from Texas, found Hancock's ear remains in the dirt and eagerly showed them off. Rumor has it that there was a $50 bounty on the ear, but Kiesner wasn't paid.

Hancock took second in the bull-riding event that year, telling the Las Vegas Review-Journal: "You don't need an ear to ride a bull."

What happens to the manure?

"Nurseries will come out and take it away," said Vince Genco, the arena boss.

Why should Lonestar be glad they'll perform tonight at the rodeo?

Thompson said the Clovis Rodeo has turned into a lucky charm for musical artists. Within the same year they played at the rodeo, several artists, including Keith Urban and Joe Nichols, had No. 1 records, charted gold records or won Country Music Association awards.

Why are sections G & H so popular with the ladies?

Rodeo officials noticed that these sections are usually the first to fill, and mostly with women. As it turns out, these two seating areas are located over the chutes where riders come out. When they return, they can be observed changing out of their pants and shirts from the sections above, Genco said.

Which rider has the most groupies?

Said Genco: "The best-looking guy who is not married." (Psssst! Go to sections G & H to find out.)

By the numbers

$125,000: Amount of money raised by nonprofit groups running concessions. Groups include Boy Scouts, Clovis Police Activities League, 4-H, Future Farmers of America, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Break the Barriers.

1949: The year the rodeo association donated land for Clovis High School's expansion. The site is now home to Clark Intermediate School.

50: Tons of hay consumed during the rodeo's run.

32: Number of states from which participants hail.

28: The number of acres covered by the Clovis Rodeo Grounds.

What's the favorite saying of rodeo volunteers who put on the event?

"You have to be a jack of all trades and master of none," Genco said.

Added Dan Rigsbee, the rodeo's chute boss: "And we are a master of none."

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