Rodeo queens, longhorns and Clydesdales add to festivities at Abilene rodeo
Abilene, Kan.– The royalty of rodeo, both human and animal, will be on hand for this year’s Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo in Abilene.
Miss Rodeo America Hailey Frederiksen and Miss Rodeo Kansas State University Makaeli Burkham will be in attendance during all four performances of the rodeo in Abilene, as well as at auxiliary events. Frederiksen, of Wellington, Colorado, was awarded the title of Miss Rodeo America in December of last year. She will spend this year traveling across the nation making appearances at schools, civic groups and other events to create awareness of rodeo and the western culture. Frederiksen is a graduate of Colorado State University, where she earned a bachelor of science in Animal Sciences and a minor in Agricultural Business. Makaeli Burkham, a native of Malaga, New Mexico, will begin her fifth year of school at Kansas State University this fall. Her major is animal science with the goal of becoming an equine physical therapist. Burkham was crowned in February of this year, and like Miss Rodeo America, promotes the sport of rodeo and the western industry, but stays in the state of Kansas. She is a barrel racer, competing collegiately for K-State. The women will make appearances at the Abilene Public Library on August 2 at 3 pm, at the annual rodeo buckle auction on August 1 at 7 pm and will ride in the parade on August 4. They will be part of the rodeo’s grand entry and will sign autographs after the rodeo each night. In addition to the rodeo queens, longhorns and Clydesdales will add to the festivities.Back by popular demand, the Sander Ranch longhorn herd returns with about 25 steers.
The majestic animals were in town last year to celebrate the rodeo’s 75th anniversary. They will be driven in the parade and will be part of the rodeo’s grand entry. They hail from the Sander Ranch near Woodward, Okla., and have been to numerous rodeos and western events, from Greeley, Colo., to Dallas, and even to a Dodge automotive show in Detroit.
New this year is the Broken Spoke Clydesdales.Origination from Winfield, Kansas, the team of Clydesdales enters the arena pulling a wagon. The driver, Mark DeCoudres, loves to show off intricate turns and maneuvers with the massive animals, who average about 2,000 lbs. each.The Clydesdales’ pens will be set up at the rodeo grounds, for the public to view the horses.Other personnel from this year’s rodeo include stock contractor Sammy Andrews, Andrews Rodeo Co., Bagwell, Texas; announcer Mike Mathis, Lufkin, Texas; and bullfighters Clint Lott, China Spring, Texas and Blake Miller, Rogers, Texas.Acting as specialty act at the rodeo will be the trick riding group Tricked Out, featuring Dusta Kimzey O’Connell and Sadie Lynn.The 76th Will Bill Hickok Rodeo runs August 3-6. Performances begin at 7:30 pm nightly.Tickets are $10 in advance (on sale July 12-August 3) and $13 at the gate. Children’s tickets are $7. Tickets can be purchased at West’s Country Mart and other area retailers. They can also be purchased online at CKFF.net. For more information, visit the rodeo’s website at WildBillHickokRodeo.com.