Wooly Riders A Rodeo Highlight

RODEO REVIEW

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No, the kids riding sheep aren't making a music video for the next version of "Wooly Bully," they are the mutton busters -- sheep-ridin', yee-hawin' youngsters.

You never know, these mutton busters could grow up to be bronc bustin' cowboys or barrel racin' cowgirls.

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In mutton bustin', more often than not, it is the sheep that comes out ahead of the daring youngsters who try to ride them through the arena. And it isn't all that common for one of the children to land face up.

During the two performances of the 2006 Gary Hardt Memorial Rodeo, May 19 and 20, the daring youngsters will hold onto the fleece for as long as they can.

The sheep have not been shorn, so the little contestants have something to grip. The riders are also outfitted with helmets.

This rodeo tradition is for participants ages 5 to 7, weighing 55 pounds or less -- the sheep weigh 80 to 100 pounds.

Each child participating will get a belt buckle and a bandana.

The child with the longest ride will receive a certificate for a pair of boots.

The contestant slots are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be an opportunity for 15 or so children to ride at each performance.

Parents can sign their children up at Chapman Auto Center in Payson. The cost is $10 per child and parents must sign a release.

If there are any openings the day of the rodeo, parents may sign their children up at the Dodge truck on the north side of the Payson Event Center arena.

Performances are at 7 p.m., Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20, gates open at 5 p.m.

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