Lexingtonians are always looking for another reason to slide on their cowboy boots when it’s not tailgate season and there isn’t a big country concert at Rupp Arena. The third annual Lexington Rodeo this weekend is an opportunity to do just that.
Professional cowboys and cowgirls will compete in standard rodeo events such as bull riding, barrel racing and steer wrestling on Friday and Saturday at the Alltech Arena in the Kentucky Horse Park.
Mutton busting and the calf scramble are two of the most popular events for young competitors and are a crowd favorite. Mutton busting involves children holding on to a race sheep for as long as they can. In the calf scramble, young competitors race after three calves in order to pull a ribbon off each one.
“The biggest show stealer is usually the kid events,” rodeo committee co-chairman Jeff Stone said.
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Besides the traditional events, there will be several entertainment acts throughout the weekend. Tommie Turvey, the halftime act, is the renowned animal trainer for the hit TV series “The Walking Dead” and for movies such as “Fist Fight,” “Selma” and “Batman: The Dark Knight.” He’s no stranger to the horse park, having performed there during the 2010 World Equestrian Games and Breyerfest.
Turvey’s acts include the “Riding Instructor,” bareback stunts and numerous tricks with trained horses. Turvey will bring his horse, Blade, who appears in “The Walking Dead.”
Clown and barrel man Hippie the Clown will also be at the rodeo all weekend. His acts include being sent airborne in a barrel after being hit by an enraged bull.
“The rodeo is a family friendly event that has constant action throughout the evening,” Stone said.
The rodeo, the only one of its kind in the area, has drawn 9,500 people during the weekend for the past two years. This year, Stone said, they expect to have an almost sold-out weekend of 11,000 people.