Wednesday, February 20, 2013
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Ranch Rodeo coming to Illinois Horse Fair

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[February 20, 2013]  SPRINGFIELD -- Twelve teams will compete in four working cowboy events at 7:30 nightly at the Illinois Horse Fair in Springfield on March 1 and 2. Ranch Rodeo is a competition pitting teams of cowboys against one another, range cattle and the clock.

Ranch Rodeo is the "original rodeo," steeped in history formed from the everyday realities of cowboy life. Ranch Rodeo honors the traditions of ranch life and promotes respect for the cowboy of today, whose hard work and long hours put food on Americans' tables.

But Ranch Rodeos are about fun, too. The excitement gets ramped up when judges measure the cowboys' speed and skill and when good-natured rivalries between teams come into play. Spectators love the unpredictable tumbles and spills of the competition. While traditional rodeo events are not part of the competition, the spirit of the working cowboy comes to life when ranch skills are performed against the stopwatch.

Each team of cowboys will compete in four events: team sorting, stray gathering, ranch team roping and trailer loading.

In team sorting each team will sort 10 steers in numerical order one at a time. Letting one cross the line out of order results in disqualification. During stray gathering, two steers must be roped and tied down as it would be done on the ranch when steers wander where they shouldn't. Ranch team roping is a test of roping skills, in which each team must head and heel two steers, just as they would for doctoring on the range or in the pasture. How fast can a cow be caught and loaded in a trailer? The trailer loading contest will show you as the cowboys load their horses and race to a pickup truck.

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Daily admission tickets to the fair are $10 each and weekend passes are $25. Children under 8 are admitted free with a paid adult, so visitors are encouraged to bring the kids along for an educational weekend with fun. General admission tickets give access to all exhibits, clinics and educational presentations at the Illinois Horse Fair. Gates will be open at 8 a.m. and wristbands can be purchased at the gates.

The Ranch Rodeo requires separate tickets for Friday and Saturday nights along with the $10 general admission tickets. Reserved seating tickets for the evening performances are $15. Tickets can be purchased by calling 217-529-6503.

Watch for new parking locations for spectators. A handicapped-accessible parking area is designated for easy access at the northeast side of the Expo Hall.

The Illinois Horse Fair is produced by the Horsemen's Council of Illinois, an affiliate chapter of the American Horse Council, and sponsored by Purina Mills and the Illinois Farm Bureau. The Horsemen's Council of Illinois provides central leadership and advocacy for Illinois' 64,000 horse owners, 178,000 horses and the state's diverse $1.2 billion equine industry.

[Text from file received from the Horsemen's Council of Illinois]

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