SILER CITY — From cowboys with lassos to bull riders and oversized belt buckles, there will be something for everyone at the second annual Silk Hope Pro Rodeo on June 23 and 24.
Last year’s rodeo saw over 5,000 people come through the Silk Hope Ruritan Club, according to Silk Hope Pro Rodeo organizer Dennis “Strawberry” Pruitt.
“We had to turn people away that Saturday night because we didn't have enough seating for everybody,” he said. “We had to bring in more bleachers for this year so that way we hopefully don’t have to turn people away.”
The Silk Hope Pro Rodeo will feature seven different events where cowboys and cowgirls alike will compete for best in show. From bull riding to cattle roping, Pruitt said the rodeo highlights a unique kind of athleticism from competitors.
“As soon as it's over, you can start working on the events for next year. It's kind of a year-long process really,” he said. “A lot of people who compete in the rodeo, they go work out … It is a lot of people make a living doing it. So you have to be mentally and physically able to do it.”
Rodeos began after the Civil War in 1882, when William F. Cody — more widely known as Buffalo Bill — hosted his own Wild West show in North Platte, Nebraska. However, prior to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, Spanish conquistadors and Mexican Vaqueros, who were in charge of herding and transporting cattle, contributed many of the skills and much of the equipment and rodeo terminology used by the American cowboy. Riding, roping and branding, along with the rope, saddle, spurs, chaps, and even the word rodeo ("roundup") are just a few of the things brought from the vaqueros.
“It's a Western way of life,” Pruitt said. “We start the rodeo with prayer and with the National Anthem. All of this goes back to the roots of America, and if you ain't never been, you need to come because it's a sporting event that was started right here. There will be two hours of a lot of action, competition, and it'll really be good.”
Pruitt said the Silk Hope rodeo is one he’s been looking forward to since last year. He said after the success of last year’s event, he hopes to raise rodeo patrons’ expectations with a higher capacity, even more vendors and food options and a local event people of all ages can enjoy.
“It's a small community, but it branches out,” he said. “This also helps the Ruritan Club — they raise money there for all the stuff they do throughout the year. Lots of people in the community there get involved in coming sponsor-wise and just to help out … It’s amazing.”