Arts & Entertainment

Get your boots on, the rodeo is back

Dig out your cowboy boots and hat, the Horse Heaven Round-Up is rolling into town.

Action begins Aug. 26 at the Benton Franklin Fairgrounds, and your ticket to the fair gets you a seat to watch some of the best ropers and riders on the PRCA circuit test their skills against 2,000 bulls and feisty calves.

Rough stock will come from the Big Bend Flying 5 Rodeo Company, with timed-event stock from Palmer Smith.

Thursday's tie-down roping event is a must see with six-time world all-around champion Trevor Brazile, eight-time world champion Fred Whitfield and 2008 PRCA rookie of the year Tuf Cooper in the lineup. Brazile also will team rope with Patrick Smith on Thursday.

For the first time, the athletes will have access to immediate care with onsite sports medicine personnel provided by Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.

Announcer Roger Mooney returns with the HHRU, with bullfighters Rowdy Barry and Lloyd Ketchum looking out for the bull riders.

This year's specialty act, which will run each night before the action begins and again between events, will be Calgary native Sally Bishop, a third generation rodeo and wild west performer.

Bishop has performed at the Calgary Stampede, the National Finals Rodeo, Excalibur in Las Vegas and for the prince of Saudi Arabia.

Thursday is Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night, with the top performer in each event taking home a bonus of $200 and a buckle -- if they are wearing pink.

There should be no excuse for not pocketing the bonus money because Kadlec is providing free pink Wrangler shirts, embroidered with the HHRU and Kadlec logos for all competitors. River Realty is sponsoring the buckles.

The fair and rodeo board will donate $1 for every person wearing pink to the event, and will have items for sale to benefit breast cancer awareness.

"We have raised $33,000 over the last three years," said Lori Lancaster, director of marketing for the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo.

All of the money raised stays in the Mid-Columbia and is given to the three local hospitals -- Kadlec, Kennewick General Hospital and Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco -- to help with care and to provide free mammograms for those who cannot afford them.

Lancaster also noted that the roping chutes have been painted to match the bucking chutes, there is a new sound system and the Zoo Crew seating area is now at the west end on an elevated platform.