doko rodeo

Cola Daily file photo

The Blythewood Fall Festival Rodeo is ready to charge out of the chutes at Blythewood’s Community Park Arena Friday, Oct. 29 and Saturday, Oct. 30.

The Fall Festival Rodeo is a new entry on the rodeo circuit, doubling up Blythewood’s rodeo events this year. The Doko Championship Rodeo is held annually in the spring but was held in November last year due to the pandemic.

Like its sister event, the Fall Festival rodeo will feature eight events, including bull riding, bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, cowgirl breakaway, tie-down roping and team heading/healing. The International Professional Rodeo Association-sanctioned event draws cowboys, cowgirls and stock from across the country to compete for prize money, trophy buckles and qualifying points for the International Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City next January.

“This is one of the last big rodeos in the country this year,” said Buck Coggins. He and his wife, Kristi, produce the Blythewood rodeos with the town’s backing. “Every dollar they earn is worth a point, so it’s very competitive because they all want to qualify.”

Top national stock contractor Ken Treadway will return to provide the bulls and broncs for the professional competitors. Spectators can test their skill on a mechanical bull or in an axe-throwing booth. Vendors will be onsite offering barbecue, hamburgers, ice cream and a variety of western wear. Vendors also will hand out early Halloween candy, and a kids’ costume contest may be in the works.

Coggins said a late-season chance to pick up points for International Finals qualifying is just one of the reasons professional cowboys and cowgirls head to Blythewood. “We’re known for great dirt, prize money and crowds,” he said.

Coggins estimates more than 4,000 people attend each night of the rodeo. Coronavirus protocols will be in place, including increased bleacher capacity but fewer seat sales to allow more room for social distancing. A limited number of private box seating for family groups also is available. He said the event will adhere to all state and federal guidelines in place at the time. Attendees who aren’t vaccinated or who feel more comfortable doing so are encouraged to wear masks.

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