The annual Licking rodeo is under way and begins at 8 each evening, with gates opening at 6 p.m.
FRIDAY: Friday night is “Military Night” and active members in the military, with proper I.D. can get in for half price.
SATURDAY: Saturday night is “Pink Night” – those attending and all participating cowboys and cowgirls are encouraged to wear pink shirts, hats, scarves, etc., to show support for breast cancer research. Pink balloons will be released.
All three evenings at 7 there will be a mounted cowboy shooting demonstration pre-show. On Friday night, future cowboys and cowgirls ages 5 through 10 are invited to join in a goat scramble, sponsored by Licking Livestock Auction. On Saturday night, a calf scramble is planned and sponsored by Newkirk Auction. “This is not only fun for the kids, but the audience gets a lot of laughs from it, too.,” said an organizer.
The barrelman for this year’s PRCA Rodeo is funny man Duane Reichert. But a barrelman’s job is more than just entertaining the audience; they also serve an important role in protecting the cowboys.
During the bull-riding event, the barrelman usually has one or two other clowns in the arena with him. They wear bright, loose-fitting clothing with protective padding underneath. These gentlemen need to be fast, agile and good at second-guessing what each individual bull is going to do.
Sometimes their job can be very dangerous. Those bulls used in professional bull riding are very large animals. The clowns stand on either side of the chute as the bull is released and work as a team to distract the bull and thus protect the rider and each other.
Their role is particularly important when a rider has been injured, in which case the rodeo clown interposes himself between the bull and the rider, or uses techniques such as running off at an angle, throwing a hat or shouting, so that the injured rider can exit the ring. When a rider has been hung up, they face the extremely dangerous task of trying to free the rider, with one team member going to the bull’s head and the other attempting to release the rider.
Reichert, of New Underwood, S. D., is a seasoned veteran with 40 years experience as a rodeo clown. His act includes “Pony Baroni,” along with “Little Richie.” He has performed in PRCA Rodeos in 42 states and four Canadian provinces. He is an honors graduate of Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S. D., with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
In addition, Reichert is a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. He is part of the PRCA National Convention Committee, the PRCA Contract Personnel Executive Council and the National Finals Rodeo Committee. He has been named to the South Dakota Hall of Fame, was an honoree at the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center, received the Ben Kobza Award -Badlands Circuit PRCA and was a two-time finalist in the Coors “Man in the Can” National Barrelman Contest.