Big crowds hang around for ‘slack’ competition at the Gooding Pro Rodeo
GOODING, Idaho – Rodeo is a unique sport. It’s often wild and Western, with excitement and danger mixed together in a two-hour performance.
The world standings are based on money earned, so when the regular season comes to an end on Sept. 30, only the top 15 contestants on the money list in each event advance to the sport’s playoffs, the National Finals Rodeo.
It’s a 10-day run for the gold, and it’s where they’ll see the best livestock and have the opportunity to make a substantial income in short order. To get there, cowboys and cowgirls will travel tens of thousands of miles and compete at about 100 rodeos over the course of a campaign.
The Gooding Pro Rodeo is one of hundreds of events in the PRCA, but it’s well-established and much appreciated. Its performances are for Thursday, Aug. 18-Saturday, Aug. 20, with a special “Beauty and the Beast” performance set for Wednesday, Aug. 17. All performances take place at 8 p.m. at Andy James Arena.
As happens every August, hundreds of ProRodeo contestants will make their way to Gooding. In fact, there will be more contestants than will fit in the performances, and a good portion of them will compete in an extra session, known as “slack.” They’ll compete against the same men and women who will be part of the paid performances.
“Gooding is a great rodeo,” said Kodie Jang, an Australian-born steer wrestler now living in the States and competing in ProRodeo for a living. “The atmosphere is good, whether you’re in slack or a performance.”
That’s telling. Cowboys and cowgirls know they have the support of some of rodeo’s greatest fans. They’ve created an identity that is uniquely Gooding.
“It’s great,” fellow bulldogger Bridger Anderson said. “It has a fast start, good steers and a great crowd. We usually have to be in slack afterward because we’re trying to work six rodeos in three days. The crowd sticks around for slack after, and it’s always a blast.”
The reason behind it is the crowd. Fans pack the stands, and they get into the overall entertainment of the show.
In fact, they make it entertaining themselves. Cowboys and cowgirls from all over the spectrum have said so. The most common theme among them is about the “beer worthy” section, where big things are recognized for being beer worthy.
“That rodeo has really good contractors and a really good committee,” Jang said. “I’ve been beer worthy winning a check and beer worthy for getting my shirt ripped off. It’s always a good time at Gooding, Idaho.”