I grew up on small town rodeos. Barrel racing, calf roping, and running poles were just a few of the exciting events that I happily ignored as a child, choosing instead to run around the arena with all of the other kids, making repeat visits to a Lions’ Club-run concessions stand while waiting for the Calf Scramble. During the Calf Scramble, dozens of children would chase tiny calves around the arena, competing for the grand prize of a one-dollar bill. You’d think that such old-fashioned entertainment would have gone the way of the buffalo by now, put out of business by XBOX 360s and 3-D movies. But J.E. Jorden, organizer of this weekend’s 2nd Annual Ray Forcier Memorial Rodeo in Benton, is a long way from hanging up his spurs.
“I like to see young people who’ve never been to a rodeo come out, because they’re seeing something they’ve never seen,” said Jorden. “Lots of kids these days have never done anything like it. I’ve given away many a dollar bill during the Calf Scramble. It’s worth it.”
In addition to the Calf Scramble for kids, there will be bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, bull riding, and performances by acclaimed rodeo comedian and barrel man Rudy Burns. The rodeo will be held at Willie Waggoner Arena, 221 Rubicon Road in Benton, beginning at 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday night. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under.