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Rodeo rides into town
IPRA event returns for weekend
Rodeo WEB 1
Ferrier Steve Ruiz prepares a horse prior to last years rodeo. This years event will be at 8 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Cumming Fairgrounds. - photo by File photo

If you’re going

• What: IPRA World Championship Rodeo

• When: 8 p.m. Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday

• Where: Cumming Fairgrounds’ covered arena

• Cost: Adults 13 and older, $15; children 5-12, $10; children 4 and younger, free; seniors 65 and older, $12

• Tickets will be available for sale two hours prior to show time each night.

Roping, riding and wrangling are expected to draw large crowds this weekend.

The Cumming Fairgrounds arena will house the International Professional Rodeo Association Championship Rodeo at 8 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday.

“We always have good quality stock and good cowboys,” said Dave Horton, fairgrounds director. “That makes it fun to watch.”

Horton said the rodeo is a qualifying event for the IPRA’s annual finals in January. The cowboys, horses and bulls with the highest cumulative scores at season’s end advance.

The Cumming rodeo will feature seven events: Bull, bare back and saddle bronc riding; barrel racing; steer wrestling; and calf and team roping.

In between events, there will be “specialty acts” from trick rider Jessica Blair and clown Jake Willcox.

Blair, originally from Knoxville, Tenn., said she began trick riding about five years ago at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede dinner theater.

She said she always tries to “give everybody a good show.”

“Basically, I’ve got a big horse who I run as fast as I can and do a lot of stuff off the side of him, like making people think I’m falling off,” she said.

Willcox, a resident of Athens, said he’s been “clowning” for about six years.

“I started when I was in college at UGA,” he said. “I now have a fencing business, but still clown in rodeos on weekends.”

Willcox said he’s different than bullfighters, who dress and wear makeup like clowns but are there to protect riders. “My job is more entertainment.”

Horton described the rodeo as “two and half hours of pretty much non-stop action … It all flows together and there’s not much down time.”