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MailTribune.com
  • Wild Rogue Pro Rodeo Returns To The Expo

    Mutton bustin' helps train the next generation of rodeo wranglers
  • CENTRAL POINT — Taking cautious steps, 7-year-old Cole Damon creeps Thursday toward his mount, a restless sheep with the apt moniker of Diablo.
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    • If you go
      What: Wild Rogue Pro Rodeo
      When: 7 p.m. today and Saturday, May 30-31
      Where: The Expo, 1 Peninger Road, Central Point
      Tickets: $16, $19 reserved, $8 for kids age 6-11, $11 for kids age 3-1...
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      If you go
      What: Wild Rogue Pro Rodeo

      When: 7 p.m. today and Saturday, May 30-31

      Where: The Expo, 1 Peninger Road, Central Point

      Tickets: $16, $19 reserved, $8 for kids age 6-11, $11 for kids age 3-11, at www.wildrogueprorodeo.com; general admission tickets cost $19, $8 for kids age 6-11, at the door; general admission is free for kids 5 and younger, reserved is free for kids 2 and younger sitting in a parent's lap

      Info: See www.wildrogueprorodeo.com
  • CENTRAL POINT — Taking cautious steps, 7-year-old Cole Damon creeps Thursday toward his mount, a restless sheep with the apt moniker of Diablo.
    With the help of his mom, Katrina Damon, he climbs aboard.
    "Grab onto its flanks. Hold on tight. Hug it," Katrina says.
    His shark helmet pulled snugly down on his head, Cole obeys, clutching Diablo and lying flat. The animal takes off. Cole stays on board for a few seconds before sliding off and hitting the ground, all smiles when he stands.
    The pastime is called mutton bustin', and it's one of several events at the Wild Rogue Pro Rodeo in Central Point.
    Ten contestants will get to try their hand at it each night. Entry forms can be found online at www.attheexpo.com. All entrants will receive a swimming voucher for Super 8, and the rider who stays on the longest will receive a Rogue Valley Family Fun Center gift card.
    Other crowd favorites at the annual, three-day rodeo, which began Thursday, include bull and bronc riding, barrel racing and youth boot races. Some of the top-ranked riders in the U.S. will be featured.
    "We're getting some of the best of the best," says Buckley Cox, event spokeswoman.
    But even those pros had to start somewhere. Frank Rendon of Wool Busters in Sweet Home, which provides the sheep, says the event is a good starting point for the next generation of rodeo champions.
    "We basically coach the kids how to ride these rough stock animals," Rendon says. "They're doing exactly the same thing as a professional bull rider. The only difference is 2,000 pounds."
    And in Cole's estimation, it's also a lot of fun.
    "I like riding things and roping," he says.
    Katrina Damon says her family trains their dogs by using sheep at their White City home. Safety is not a concern, she says. Cole and her 5-year-old son Ty, who wore a Spider-Man helmet for his rodeo ride, are both experienced at riding horses and roping.
    "They're farm kids. They've grown up on the ranch and the farm," she says. "They aren't really concerned about falling off or anything like that."
    Rendon says the most gratifying part of mutton bustin' is to watch the young participants walk away from their fall, an excited look on their faces.
    "Having the kids come back and say, 'You know, I did it,' " he says.
    Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.
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