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Monday, May 2, 2016

From the Midway: Saving the best for home

Monday, June 9, 2008

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Last weekend, the Cherokee Chamber PRCA Rodeo was held at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds. The Rodeo had a lackluster start on Thursday night due to the rain that we received. There were still a few die hard Rodeo fans out to see the show. Over 500 people in attendance on Thursday, I guess that would be more than just a few.

One of the people there was myself. While tromping through the rain and the mud I gave up all hope of staying dry and tried to get into the spirit of the Rodeo. Prior to attending the Rodeo my spirits were high in anticipation of the Rodeo.

While I was growing up in Cherokee I remember going to the Rodeo every year until I moved away at the end of my fifth grade year way back in1984. I've always remembered the Rodeo through the eyes of child.

I did not attend the rodeo for the next twenty-four years.

While growing up in Cherokee I was like most kids here and kind of took advantage of the fact that we had a rodeo every year. From my point of view every town had a rodeo and it was no big thing. Even as an adult I still never attended the Rodeo for one reason or another, mostly because I worked nights and didn't have the opportunity to see the show.

But while standing in the rain the other night watching the cowboys hang on to a wet rope while trying their best to stay on the animal, it dawned on me what a special thing the Rodeo is to this community.

It is something that the community has pulled off not just once but in one form or another for fifty years now. It's not just about the show, it's about the community coming together. This includes all the work the folks at the Chamber, the great job that the Rodeo Board does, what the folks at the gate do and, of course, the efforts of the Barnes family.

Speaking of the Barnes family, the work that John and Marty do every year will ensure that a Rodeo will be in Cherokee for many generations to come. That brings me to the man who started it all. Of course, I'm referring to Bob Barnes.

A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to sit down with Bob out at his ranch to talk about this year's Rodeo. It was a thrill for me to visit with Bob. He is always gracious and he gave me any information that I requested on stories for our paper. I can honestly say that based on the time I've spent with Bob, he is a man who truly loves the life that he and his wife have built for themselves.

After my interview with Bob, he took me for a drive around the section to look at some of his newborn colts. Just looking at the love and pride he had in his eyes for these beautiful creatures shows his character.

People may not know that the Barnes Family doesn't just do the Cherokee Rodeo. This year alone they are involved in 32 events in 12 different states, including having their stock in Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. They are the best of the best and we get to see them every year in our little corner of the world because it's also their corner of the world too.

Mike Leckband
From the Midway