A record number of world-class contestants are entered to compete for a record-high purse of $44,080 at the Cherokee PRCA Rodeo Thursday through Saturday at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds.
Sponsored by the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce and produced by the Barnes/MJM PRCA Rodeos of Peterson and Cherokee, the popular Cherokee event annually attracts the world's finest cowboys and cowgirls, with 2009 now a record-setting, banner year.
The Cherokee PRCA Rodeo performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
Many top contestants are entered this year, including Bobby Welsh of Gillette, Wyo., who has qualified four times for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, finishing third at the 2008 QNFR, and third in the world bull riding standings. He won the Cherokee Rodeo bull riding in 2008 and is currently 8th in the world standings. Welsh has won the Heartland Pro Rodeo Championship in Waco, Texas.
The 2006 World Champion Bull Rider B.K. Schumacher of Hillsboro, Wisc., who stands currently at 12th in the world standings, is also entered at Cherokee. He has qualified seven times for the WNFR.
Another Wrangler NFR bull rider, Fred Boettcher of Rice Lake, Wisc., a six-time WNFR qualifier and past Dodge National Circuit Finals bull riding champion, is also entered. He is currently 20th in the world standings.
Five times WNFR saddle bronc rider qualifier Cody DeMoss of Heflin, La., and currently 8th in the world standings is entered here, as is his brother Heat DeMoss, currently 4th in the saddle bronc world standings and a WNFR qualifier.
The winner of the Dodge National Circuit Finals saddle bronc riding, Wade Sundell of Boxholm, currently in the world saddle bronc standings, is also entered at Cherokee.
The bareback riding entries include D.V. Fennell of Neosho, Mo., currently 8th in the world bareback standings.
Todd Suhn of North Platte, Neb., a 12-times WNFR qualifier and currently 4th in the world standings is entered in the steer wrestling.
Sherry Cervi of Marana, Ariz., currently 9th in the world barrel racing standings and repeat WNFR qualifier is also entered in the Cherokee Classic.
Kyle Whitaker of Chambers, Neb., is entered in saddle bronc riding, tie down roping, and steer wrestling. He was the all-around winner at the recent Barnes Rodeo at the Minnesota Horse Expo, winning $2,225.57 in the process. He was the 2008 all-around winner at the Dodge National Circuit Finals.
The Cherokee Rodeo also will hear the incomparable voice of a new Rodeo announcer this year, Andy Seiler, of Ocala, Fla. Also new to the Cherokee Rodeo is David "Hippie" Engelkes, of Eldora, who is a fast-rising rodeo clown featuring hilarious antics.
Also, Lucas Moore, the son of David Moore who saw action for more than 20 years as a Barnes PRCA Rodeo pickup man, will be making his first appearance in the Cherokee Rodeo Arena as a bullfighter, along with Kevin Yeager of Oklahoma.
The "Wild Thang," Tim Lepard of Ponotoc, Miss., will be making his second Cherokee appearance with his renowned border collies and monkeys with their exciting, entertaining show.
The high quality contestants the Cherokee PRCA Rodeo attracts each year is a credit to the respect and admiration the world's finest cowboys and cowgirls have for the Bob and Donita Barnes family, and the quality of the Barnes rodeo livestock that promises maximum performances each and every time out of the chute.
As the Hall of Famer Bob Barnes has proven for more than 50 years of "going down the road," nobody does it better.