Rodeo will honor many this year

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Clint Cooper, a five-time NFR qualifier and a Lovington High School graduate, returns home every year along with other elite cowboys for the Lea County Fair and Rodeo

LOVINGTON, N.M. – The Lea County Fair and Rodeo offers locals a great opportunity to gather together and celebrate all that the community has to offer.

It’s also a time to reflect and appreciate how it all came to be.

“We have certain days to celebrate during our fair and rodeo, but we wanted to take time during our marquee event, the rodeo, and set aside two nights to honor the people that got us here,” said Trey Kerby, vice chairman of the Lea County Fair Board and chairman of the rodeo committee. “Our Friday night performance will be American Heroes Night, and we will be honoring our military and first responders.”

Freedom isn’t free without the sacrifices made by others over the last 250 years. Those who have served our country have offered their lives for the freedom for which we stand, and it’s not just those in the military. As September 11, 2001, proved, first responders are willing to surrender their own freedoms in order to care and protect others.

While that serves as a patriotic way to honor others, there’s a more local fragrance on board for the final Saturday of the rodeo, which will have performances set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3-Saturday, Aug. 6, at Jake McClure Arena; that also includes Lea County Xtreme Bulls, which is Tuesday, Aug. 2.

“Our last Saturday will be Volunteer Appreciation Night,” Kerby said. “It takes so many volunteers to make this fair and rodeo happen every year, and we simply can’t do it without them and without what they do for us.

“Just hearing ‘Thank you’ is enough for them, but it’s not enough for us. We wanted to honor every volunteer who has ever done all the work necessary to make this fair and rodeo go off without a hitch. Beyond that, volunteers are an important part of our society, our community. We want to show that volunteerism is strong in Lea County, and I think this is a good way to do it.”

It is. With five nights of rodeo, there will be plenty to see inside Jake McClure Arena. From world champions to National Finals Rodeo qualifiers to some incredible animal athletes, the action is always intense during Lovington’s rodeo.

This is where world champions will work their magic and prove why they are at an elite level of the game. This is where rising stars will show the talent they’ve developed in an effort to earn their place among the best in the game.

A year ago, local cowgirl Tibba Smith became the first breakaway roping champion in the history of the Lea County Fair and Rodeo. Can she do it again, or will the door open for other top ropers in the WPRA?

For 85 years, the rodeo has been the premier event of Lea County’s annual exposition. The Western way of life is thriving in this part of the country, and Lovington’s rodeo is the best way possible to showcase that.


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