By Barry Dalton
VANDALIA—The T&A Bucking Bulls rodeo held at the Vandalia Fairgrounds on Friday, July 24, and Saturday, July 25, began with a flag tribute.
“We 100 percent support the military so we love getting to fly their flags,” said Ashley Dodd of Vandalia, one of the event’s organizers. “Rodeo announcer Tom Neeley had an awesome piece he wrote himself. I saw a lot of teary eyes in the crowd.”
A single American flag, carried on horseback by Tatum Schmidt, entered the arena for the National Anthem, followed by several more riders with U.S. flags for a lap around the arena.
On Friday night, the rodeo had more than 60 competitors. Saturday’s Ranch Rodeo had 13 teams (four per team) and there were 25 mutton busters. Mutton busting is an event held at rodeos similar to bull riding or bronc riding, in which children ride or race sheep.
“Hands down the local participation award would have to go to the mutton busters,” Dodd said. “We love getting to see the kids participate.”
Dodd added that there were several local area participants in the ranch rodeo and barrel races. A ranch rodeo is a traditional type of rodeo in which amateur teams of cowboys or cowgirls from different ranches or related businesses compete in events based on the type of work a rancher might do on a daily basis.
“A few got on some rough stock,” Dodd said. “I was really impressed to see the teams in the ranch rodeo get the local entries.”
A local team won the overall ranch rodeo. The members of the team from Allen Wright Cattle Co. were Allen Wright of Vandalia; Richie Schlueter of Vandalia; Brandon Huff of Fulton; and Mikey Lawrence of New Bloomfield.
Dodd says more than 1,000 spectators attended over the weekend.
“I really think everyone enjoyed the shows,” Dodd said. “But I would guess they would come back again!”
Because of the coronavirus, T&A had to cancel about 90 percent of their season, so they were excited when they were invited to Vandalia.
“Thanks to the fair board, Frankie Wallace especially, we were able to get the stock out,” Dodd said. “We are currently working on a Ranch Rodeo Series. We have the first one set here in Vandalia for Aug. 28. (In) this one, we have added a women’s competition.”
T&A Bucking Bulls is based out of Bowling Green.