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Wild Rogue Pro Rodeo at The Expo

Some of the biggest stars on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit are coming to town for a chance to raise their standings at The Wild Rogue Pro Rodeo.

The weekend event will start at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, May 29-31, at The Expo, 1 Peninger Road, Central Point. Announcer Will Rasmussen will call the events, while Rodeo Clown JJ Harrison, who has held the title of "Northwest Clown of the Year" for the past five years, will provide comic relief.

Some of the big names competing over the weekend include world-ranked steer wrestlers Luke Branquino and Trevor Knowles, as well as world-ranked bareback riders Bobby Mote, Steven Peebles and Austin Foss.

Kids will be able to get involved with Mutton Bustin' and the Boot Race.

In addition to the events in the arena, rodeo patrons can enjoy saloon-style beverages and socialize in the outdoor Rogue Saloon while they watch the action on four large TVs. The saloon also will host music and dancing each night after the rodeo events. Radio station 105.1 "The Wolf" will give prizes for the best wolf howl, including $500 and club seat tickets to this year's Civil War college football game.

Advance tickets for general seating cost $13, and $7 for kids ages 11 and younger, for Thursday's show, and $16, and $8 for kids, for Friday and Saturday shows. Tickets are available at The Expo office, Big R and online at www.attheexpo.com until noon the day of the event. At the door, tickets cost $19, and $8 for children. Reserved tickets also are available.

During a telephone interview, Wild Rogue Pro Rodeo Queen Kelsi Dufour talked about her experiences with rodeo, her responsibilities as queen and what she's looking forward to at this year's event.

What are your responsibilities as rodeo queen?

"Basically, we're the traveling spokesperson for the sport of rodeo and, more specifically, the Wild Rogue Pro Rodeo. Throughout the year, we'll do school visits, hospital visits, little community-service type things where we'll talk about the traveling that we do during the year. And then we also travel to other rodeos and try to promote our rodeo and get more contestants and more viewers. We mostly hit PRCA rodeos because that's the circuit we're a part of. We start traveling after our rodeo ends and then finish up the year in September. We do parades as well to promote our rodeo. We're going to do the Rose Festival this year, Sisters Parade, the Pear Blossom and one on the Fourth of July."

How did you first get involved?

"I actually saw the rodeo queens when I was little and thought that was the coolest thing ever. I never thought I would be able to be one. I had a friend who was on the rodeo court in her senior year of high school and sent out a Facebook message about next year's tryouts. I thought, hey, I'm out of school, I was going to SOU and had been involved in 4-H and equestrian teams. The horse activities had sort of slowed down after high school, so I figured I'd give it a try. I made princess last year, got my feet wet a little and saw what it was all about. Then I tried out again this year and made queen."

What is the tryout process like?

"We have a tryout in September going through impromptu questions designed to make you think on your feet because they want someone who can think on their feet for interviews or when little kids come up with random questions. They want to make sure you're good at that. There's also a horsemanship portion where we ride a pattern and then a trial queen's run where we run in and wave to make sure you have good control of your horse at higher speeds to make sure you're going to be safe and make wise choices about your footing. And then there's a rodeo knowledge portion where they want to make sure what you know about the sport of rodeo, current events in rodeo and in your area agriculturally. They want a well rounded individual who knows what's going on in the sport."

What will you and your court be doing at this year's rodeo?

"We'll do grand entries every night and help with the boot race and mutton bustin', as well as signing autographs and helping push (herd) cattle."

What are you most looking forward to at this year's rodeo?

"The whole rodeo is fun, but I love watching the kids get out there. They absolutely love doing the boot race and mutton bustin'. Signing autographs afterwards is fun, too. It's such a small thing for us, but I have friends who baby sit that tell me 'Oh, my gosh, these kids have your picture up in their room and they think you're so cool.' So, it's fun to be a role model for them because it's such a small thing that you do but it makes such a big impact on them."

Rodeo queen Kelsi Dufour.