Opening day at the Sikeston Rodeo - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Opening day at the Sikeston Rodeo

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SIKESTON, Mo. -- Wednesday kicked off the 66th annual Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo. Competitors and rodeo-goers say they come back year after year for the atmosphere. 

"Well, I've never been here, so I'm just trying out the experience and seeing what its all about," said Dylan Corvick 

"Tonight I'm actually off work and it was either a movie or we were going to come here to the rodeo. This is a lot better and more exciting and the weather is perfect," said Thomas Tiller. 

More than 65 cowboys from across the nation competed in events like steer wrestling, bronc riding, and bull riding. Rodeo Board President Jeremiah Quick says the Sikeston Rodeo is so popular, competitors drive all night to get here. 

"It's one of the biggest rodeos. Top 5 percent in the country. When you think of Sikeston, you don't think of that kind of rodeo, but this stacks right up there with Cheyenne, Wyoming or San Antonio, Texas. It's a big rodeo so these cowboys want to come here," said Quick. 

Ike Fontenot is one of those cowboys. He spends half the year on the road and was happy to make a stop in Sikeston.

"Since the middle of June, I've put 25,000 miles on a truck, so it's a lot of travel," said Fontenot. 

Will George, who traveled from Iowa, says most cowboys get excited when they see the Sikeston Rodeo on the calendar. It's a time to catch up with friends and enjoy the friendly competition. 

"It's just a big family, everybody helps everybody out. You don't hardly see anybody get upset. If they do, it's at themselves, but never at each other and that's what's fun about it," said George. 

The Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo runs through Saturday. The rodeo begins at 7 p.m. each night, with concerts following around 10 p.m. 

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