Illinois Junior Rodeo draws dozens of cowgirls and cowboys - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Illinois Junior Rodeo draws dozens of cowgirls and cowboys

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DU QUOIN, Ill. -- Dozens of cowgirls and cowboys came out to the District 3 Illinois Junior Rodeo at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. 

Organizers said about about 74 contestants participated at Sunday's event and they ran more than 284 runs each day.

"Each district hosts a rodeo throughout the course of the year, and so it's our turn for this weekend so you got contestants from all over the state of Illinois," said Amy Hamson, District 3 Secretary.

Hamson explained how the contestants range from elementary school to middle school. 

"We have kids that have made lifelong friendships, they grow up together, some of these kids have been rodeoing together since they were in kindergarten and so you know all their hard work hopefully pays off for them," Hamson said. 

That includes her 13-year-old son, Wyatt Hamson, who's been involved for the past 7 years.

"I think that some of the friends I made here are lifelong friends" Hamson said. "One thing that I found with rodeo is no matter if you catch or you beat somebody, they're still going to pat you on the back and say good job."

For Illinois Jr. Rodeo Association Princess Madelyn Branum, she looks forward to this event every year and is thankful to have her family there cheering her on. She's also the 2016 all around cowgirl for the kindergarten through 2nd grade age division. 

"It means a lot," Branum said. "You can meet a lot of people here."

Organizers said contestants work hard year-round to get to the Illinois Rodeo State Finals on August 4th and August 5th in Delavan, Illinois. 

The Illinois Junior Rodeo Association aims to provide a forum for kids to learn sportsmanship, character, horsemanship, rodeo skills, and to compete with other children, their own age, in a family environment.  

For more information, visit here.

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