he La Junta Kid’s Rodeo is a longstanding subculture in the Arkansas Valley that has attracted young cowboys and cowgirls from near and far, such as greats like Clyde Frost and Dick Yates. Nobody appreciates the children rodeo’s rich records and legacy extra than Kevin Waggoner, Chairman of the La Junta Kids Rodeo, and board member Teresa Walz. “This is our 82nd year of the Kid’s Rodeo, stated Waggoner. “We are the oldest and the handiest consecutive kid’s rodeo race meet inside the international.” “My dad, Jack Crowder, was in the bronc driving at the first actual kid’s rodeo in 1938 in Potter Park,” stated Walz. The Waggoner and the Crowder households each have four generations of children rodeo members, so for them it’s a personal connection to their heritage and their family roots. Jack Crowder recently became ninety five years vintage. Walz maintains a copy of the 1938 software as a memento. Prizes again then blanketed a quart of ice cream, a neckerchief and a “cowboy shirt”. Though the rodeo floor’s unique individual still boasts a rugged and historical charm, an vital improve is wanted.
Since the occasion usually happens in August, the hottest month of the 12 months, Walz says a protected grandstand can be instrumental in the safety and luxury of the rodeo’s dependable patrons and could attract extra spectators to the area. “I think we can get more human beings if we can make it extra at ease for them,” said Walz. The City of La Junta owns the venue, and even though they have got contributed financially, the La Junta Kids Rodeo committee should do their part in “raising the roof”. Waggoner says a roof on the grandstands may want to benefit more than just the youth rodeo and race meet. “If we get the roof over the grandstand, our centers out there may be extra multi-cause,” he said. “Maybe the town ought to have a concert out there.” Waggoner additionally stresses the significance of the rodeo occasion for neighborhood teenagers. “Not all agriculture youngsters are capable of go play baseball, football and basketball all summer season lengthy,” he stated. “This is an opportunity for them to return and revel in their sport with their horses.” So far, the project has now not been an smooth feat and has already been many years inside the making. Putting a roof over the grandstand location calls for plans drafted with the aid of an engineer. After 10 years, Waggoner changed into able to rent a local engineer for the task, and the plans were signed and stamped. Now they just need funding to see the development thru. Walz, who’s also the Rocky Ford FFA guide, advised a dinner and dance fundraiser offering a popular live band, and her students jumped onboard for the cause, volunteering their time and effort. “We have to change with the time and improve matters … But it’s going to take a village,” stated Walz. The Rocky Ford FFA Chapter will make the lasagna dinner and help with different responsibilities related to the fundraiser. Waggoner hopes by means of maintaining an annual fundraiser, together with Raise the Roof, the committee can begin making progress in the direction of the roofing undertaking. “I’m quite certain we’re now not going to get all the finances the primary year,” Waggoner said. “It may also take us three, four or five. But the cash we do get will gradually begin paying for the roof over the grandstand.” Given the event’s ancient importance, Raise the Roof will be more than a fundraiser: It can be a reunion for locals who’ve participated in the Kids Rodeo over the many years. The Raise the Roof fundraiser is scheduled to take vicinity on April thirteen at the La Junta Elks Lodge. The dinner will begin at 6 p.M., and the dance could be from 8 p.M. To nighttime. The dance will feature live tune by The Silver Eagle Band, a famous group that plays a wide style of tune. Tickets are $15 for adults (fee includes dinner and the dance), and $five for kids ages 6 to 12. Tickets can be bought at La Junta Mill and from participants of the Ace of Spades Roping Club and rodeo board individuals. Donations also are significantly preferred.