For the second consecutive year, the Beef Empire Days PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) Rodeo will be contested on the front end of Memorial Day weekend.
The 32nd annual PRCA event, which is part of the Prairie Circuit, begins Thursday at 8:30 a.m. with the slack portion of the competition, where there will be women’s barrel racing, calf roping, steer wrestling among the events for the daytime free admission at the Finney County Fairgrounds Arena.
Evening sessions of Thursday, Friday and Saturday will begin at 7 p.m. with Thursday’s opening being Family Night. The ticket special for opening night allows two adults and their children (under 9 years of age) to come to the rodeo for a price of $15.00.
Friday’s second rodeo performance has been designated Military Appreciation Night, with all active duty military admitted with a complimentary ticket for the immediate family. Just show current military ID to the ticket staff to receive complimentary general admission seating.
The concluding Saturday night session will be Community Service Night.
General admission tickets are $10 per session while reserved benchback seats are $15 and reserved bucket seats are priced at $20.
More than 300 contestants are expected to battle for approximately $100,000 in cash prizes, valuable points for world rankings and eventual qualification for both circuit finals and the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in December.
Major events in each evening performance include bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding. Another new addition to the evening schedule is the Businessmen’s Calf Roping event. It will be contested each night, as well. There also will be barrel racing, calf roping, team roping, tie-down roping and steer wrestling on the docket.
Providing the stock for the bull riding, saddle bronc and bareback riding events will be Korkow Rodeos, LLC, of Pierre, S.D.
The Korkow family has been in operation for more than 60 years, and to date is one of only a few stock producers that has had either bareback or saddle bronc horses selected to buck at every PRCA National Finals Rodeo since 1959.
Jim Korkow is second generation family to be involved in the rodeo operation, founded by his father Erv, who was inducted posthumously into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2009. Jim, and his son, T.J., third-generation now oversee a vast stock of horses and bulls that sees competition from Florida across the southern tier of the United States in the winter months, and then through north central and the western United States in the summer and fall.
The BED PRCA Rodeo is the only event in Kansas in which the Korkow family provides the stock.
Korkow Rodeos was honored at the 2017 NFR, being named winner of the Remuda Award of the Year, given annually to the stock producers who provides the best set of livestock in rodeo for that year.
T.J. Korkow said that there would be some familiar names for saddle broncs and bareback horses as well as bulls, along with a strong list of newcomers, as the rookies in saddle bronc, bareback and bulls range in age of 4-5 years old.
In saddle bronc, Bad Onion and Meat Cracker were horses at the NFR in December. In the bareback competition. Onion Ring was the winning ride in one round of the NFR and was third place in the Horse of the Year competition.
Feather Fluffer and Harry’s Girl are two other NFR horses that will be in Garden City this weekend.
Among the top rookie saddle broncs will be Red Demption, Canning Coyote and Blue Room, while Sundown and Sink or Swim are among the top first-year bareback horses.
While the Korkows didn’t have any bulls at the NFR, T.J. said that some of the veteran bulls that they are bringing include Blackout, Hannibal, Red Out and Pepper Popper. Red Out or Pepper Popper was one of the top rides at the 2017 BED event.
Rookie bulls that has Korkow excited include Heathens, Bad Romance, Burnt Bacon and Sucker Punch.
“We’re pretty pleased with what we’re bringing again,” Korkow said by telephone Tuesday en route to Garden City. “We’ve had a good run of great horses again, and we think we’ve got some of the best horses for the cowboys to ride.”
And once again there will be no lack of top-ranked contestants in the major events.
Thursday, for example, will have the No. 1 (Sage Steele Kimzey), No. 3 (Trey Benton III) and No. 16 (Boudreaux Campbell) in the bull riding first section. No. 17 Lon Danley and No. 5 Dustin Boquet will be the final section of bull riding on opening night.
Steer wrestling will have No. 9 Riley Duvall while bareback riding will have the No. 4 (Tim O’Connell), No. 9 (Shane O’Connell), No. 10 (Orin Larsen and No. 12 (Steven Dent) in the opening night performance. In team roping, No. 6 Andrew Ward and teammate Reagan Ward will be entered. Cort Scheer, the No. 15 ranked rider, will be competing in saddle bronc riding. In the women’s barrel race, No. 17 Tillar Murray is entered for the opening evening’s show.
The BED Rodeo was voted Prairie Circuit Rodeo of the Year in 2005. With the date change to Memorial Weekend, the rodeo attracted some of highest ranked cowboys and barrel racers in many years and the earlier schedule was well received by the contestants.