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Riding dirt bikes for motocross was the closest La Grange’s Matt Koenig had ever come to riding a bull. But Koenig had an itch.
Koenig found out about the rodeo only a few weeks earlier. At the World Championship Rodeo’s stop at the Oldham County Fairgrounds on Saturday, Koenig scratched that itch, taking part in the bull-riding portion.
He didn’t last the required eight seconds to earn a pay-out, but he fared better than he thought he would.
“It’s definitely not eight, but it’s good enough for me,” Koenig said. “I didn’t get trampled, so that’s winning for me.”
Rain prior to the rodeo limited the arena allotment to about two-thirds of the field. But the makeshift arena still allowed for the standard rodeo events of saddle bronc, tie-down roping, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding.
Hundreds of fans packed the bleachers and spread blankets on the adjacent hill to watch the rodeo, cheering loudly throughout.
“I thought they had a super rodeo and the crowd was into it good,” said Broken Horn Rodeo owner Jim McElroy, who produced the event. “We didn’t lose any of the crowd. When you look up and nobody’s gone, that means you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.”
Two bicycles were given away during the rodeo’s intermission, with Alex McGill, 5, of La Grange winning the five and under stick horse raceand a bicycle.
“I liked playing with the stick horse,” McGill said. “I liked racing. I’m excited (to win bicycle).”
Dominik Prince, 9, of Campbellsburg, fought a few obstacles to win the 6-9 years old race and a bicycle. Prince won despite wearing Velcro sandals and socks and nearly falling a few times.
Prince then gave the bicycle to his younger brother, Donovan.
“I tried to keep my balance,” Dominik said. “The trick was, you’ve gotta keep it out a little bit, you can’t have it all the way in. Otherwise, that’s how you trip.”
After intermission, Crestwood native Matt Powell competed in the bull riding portion, but couldn’t hang on for the required time. La Grange’s Garen Lawson was the lone saddle bronc rider, also failing to stay on the required amount of time.
“I just wanted to do my best and I fell off,” Powell said. “It kinda upsets you when you fall off in front of your hometown crowd. I wanted to do it. I wanted to ride and would’ve liked to have won in front of everybody but that was the circumstances.”
Powell also said he hoped this wasn’t the last rodeo in his native county.
“I’m gonna try my dangdest to get ‘em back,” he said. “If I’ve gotta do it on my own, then I’ll find a way to do it on my own.”
As public address announcer Joe Coalter and rodeo clown ‘Scooter’ bantered back and forth, as they did throughout the rodeo, Christian Country Cowboy Church member Eddie Kinsberg talked about how he hoped the rodeo would return. He and other members of Six Guns Entertainment put on a gun fight show before the rodeo and also sang the National Anthem.
“I think it’s a very big event and hopefully, it’s well-received and we can have it next year,” Kinsberg said. “It’s one of the biggest things that’s happened here other than a truck pull.”
Koenig wants to give it another try, too.
Before the race, when asked where would be the best place to meet after the rodeo he replied, “Probably the hospital.”
But afterward, he was still in one piece.
“It was definitely a rush. But at the same time, you’ve gotta focus just like any other sport you might do. It wasn’t anything too far out of the realm of extreme sports and that kind of thing. It was definitely a blast, a good experience for sure and I think I’m hooked now.”
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