Twenty minutes before the start of the rodeo, Rooster was staring intently at the arena.
The 9-year-old horse gets a little nervous before an event, said his rider, Elizabeth Yancey.
Yancey has ridden in about 10 rodeos this summer and was competing in barrel racing Thursday, one of more than 160 competitors in seven events in the Show-Me State Stampede and Rodeo at the Missouri State Fair Arena.
Yancey and Rooster train every night to prepare for rodeos.
“We have Barrel Racing lessons once a week,” she said. Competitors rode into the arena in Bareback, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Saddle Bronc, Barrel Racing, Calf Roping Breakaway and Bull Riding.
Garry Perrymann was there to compete in steer wrestling, something he does in his efforts of “trying to stay young.”
“It’s a dying sport and we need to keep bringing people in,” Perrymann said.
He’s been steer wrestling for 31 years, at one time going to 100 rodeos a year. Now he’s cut that schedule down to 35-40.
“I don’t heal quite as fast,” he said.
He still has a good time doing it and gets to see people he’s met a different rodeos he’s been in.
Yancey was hoping to finish well, but said her main goal was to have fun.
“It’s very stressful,” Yancey said. “You’re just thinking about a lot of stuff and trying to get it done.”
More competitors will be out at the State Fair on Friday and Saturday. Events begin at 7 p.m. each night. The National Barrel Horse Racing takes over the arena at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles