SDSU's Jackrabbit Stampede is April 1-4 If you want to see some of the top athletes in the region perform on some of the best rodeo stock in the nation, make plans to attend South Dakota State University's Jackrabbit Stampede.
The 50th Annual Jackrabbit Stampede rodeo April 1 through 4 at the Swiftel Center in Brookings will feature five performances, a queen competition and a 50th anniversary barbecue. The four-day extravaganza, hosted by the SDSU Rodeo Club, is one of the largest rodeos of its kind in the nation.
As a double-header, it will feature two separate rodeos rolled into one jam-packed weekend.
Before the hectic rodeo weekend begins, the SDSU Rodeo Club invites physically and mentally disadvantaged students to come experience rodeo hands-on in an "exceptional rodeo."
"It gives them the opportunity to be around horses and experience other fun rodeo type activities. They have a great time at it," said Terry McCutcheon, SDSU rodeo coach.
After the exceptional rodeo, there will be the first-ever Jackrabbit Stampede hands-on media event. Several rodeo team members will be available to answer questions and give the media a taste of what rodeo is all about.
"The purpose of that is to get information out about the rodeo. It will give people in the media a chance to tie a calf or throw down a steer. It will give them a little insight," said McCutcheon.
The first rodeo performance will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 1 at the Swiftel Center. It will feature all the standard college rodeo events: tie down, team and breakaway roping; goat tying, steer wrestling and barrel racing; and bareback, saddle-bronc and bull riding.
Between typical rodeo competitions will be some unique ways to get the public involved. There will be children's events, like the traditional mutton busting and the boot scramble.
"We're going to try to get campus involved more," McCutcheon said, explaining that they will have events in which members of SDSU clubs can compete. There will be a trophy given for the overall women's team and overall men's team, based on their placing in a variety of events held over the rodeo weekend. The exact competitions have not yet been determined.
Beginning Friday morning at 9 a.m., local schools will have the opportunity to take field trips to the slack, or championship-qualifying, performances.
The event, coordinated through the Swiftel Center, gives school children the opportunity to experience South Dakota's official sport of rodeo. It is also a benefit for the athletes.
"It's really neat for the people competing to have more kids in the stands," McCutcheon said.
At 7 p.m. Friday night, the championship performance for the first rodeo will be held.
A rodeo dance, hosted by the Swiftel Center, will follow the performances on both Friday and Saturday night.
Saturday morning marks the beginning of the SDSU rodeo queen competition; the public is invited to come and watch. Tentatively set for 9 a.m., the contest will begin with modeling, speeches and impromptu questions in the SDSU University Student Union.
At 3 p.m. Saturday, the queen contestants will move to the Swiftel Center to complete two horsemanship patterns, one free-style and one Miss Rodeo America pattern.
The 50th Anniversary SDSU Rodeo Alumni Barbecue will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Brookings County Extension Resource Center.
"The barbecue will give the alumni an opportunity to visit old friends and see where rodeo has come at State," said McCutcheon.
The competing queen candidates will attend the barbeque, which is co-sponsored by the SDSU Alumni Association. Marie Schaller, current Miss Rodeo SDSU, is trying to get as many past queens as possible to attend.
The fourth rodeo performance will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday, when the graduating seniors from the SDSU rodeo team will be recognized.
"The most important thing is to honor our seniors that have been here for four years," McCutcheon said.
The Jackrabbit Stampede will wrap up on Sunday, April 4 with the coronation of the new Miss Rodeo SDSU at 1 p.m. and the championship performance at 1:30 p.m.
"The new Miss Rodeo SDSU and the sponsors of the buckles will present the awards," said McCutcheon, explaining that the awards are given based on the high point totals for the entire weekend.
For ticket information, call the Swiftel Center at (605) 692-8499. For more information about the Jackrabbit Stampede, call Terry McCutcheon at (605) 688-5774 or e-mail him at Terry_McCutcheon@sdstate.edu. For more information about the Miss Rodeo SDSU competition, call Marie Schaller at (605) 770-3626 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.