Tornado doesn't throw off rodeo

05/21/2007 1:01 AM

01/24/2008 5:15 PM

Every year for 43 years, Greensburg has had a rodeo.

This year, the tornado not withstanding, will be no exception. The rodeo is on for Friday and Saturday, as scheduled.

Rodeo stock contractor Mike Greenleaf, a Greensburg native who lives just northeast of town, is making sure of it.

This year, he and his crew with Medicine River Rodeo Co. will donate the rodeo -- stock, announcers, pickup men and other personnel -- to the town.

He is even encouraging the contestants to give back at least a portion of their winnings to Greensburg's Triangle Rodeo Club or to the town.

"Usually it costs the rodeo committee about $15,000 to $20,000 to put on a rodeo," he said. "This year, it will be free."

Greenleaf stresses that a lot of people are helping.

All the contract help are donating their time and travel.

Volunteers have cleaned up debris and made the rodeo grounds safe.

Blattner Feedlot Construction of Cimarron has donated panels to replace the damaged perimeter fence.

Haviland High School is lending its bleachers. Beef Empire Days organizers from Garden City will handle concession stands and donate any profits to rebuild Greensburg.

Area farmers have brought in graders, loaders and other heavy equipment to help with cleanup.

Rod Pratt, president of the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association, said it will offer a special recognition to the Triangle Club at the Saturday performance and donate what would normally amount to the sanction fee back to the club.

Association vice president Jim Boy Hash said the rodeo will give people a chance to get together and share memories, both good and bad.

Greenleaf said the rodeo is his gift to his hometown.

"We want all of the out-of-towners who would normally come to the rodeo to come, too," he said. "If they want to donate the customary price of a ticket, we'll be happy to collect donations."

But the show is really to provide a break for all the people working to clean up their homes or help others with the effort.

"There are a ton of organizations here. These people are working 14-hour days, using porta-potties and sleeping in tents," he said. "I just want them to have a break, a couple of hours of entertainment on Friday and Saturday night."

Entries for the rodeo, which is also sanctioned by the Texas Cowboys Rodeo Association, open today.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. A practice performance will be Thursday at 7 p.m.

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