Rodeo means family
For the last 66 years, folks in Sikeston come together to bring the west to southeast Missouri.
The Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo started in 1953.
It has since grown to into one of the largest premiere Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) events in the region.
From riding to roping, clowns to laughter, and an up-close concert, the fun draws in almost 40,000 people each year.
But for many, the rodeo means much more than roping in a good time.
What does rodeo mean to you?
Mayor Steven Burch says the rodeo is a family atmosphere.
In fact, he spent most summers as a child at the rodeo grounds.
Burch’s father was rodeo chairman in 1964.
“There’s a lot of people in the community that I work with every day that I’ve got to know really well and that’s because we spent practically all of our summers out there from a very early age for some of us, others that got involved later in life … We’ve grown together and grown up at the rodeo grounds.”
2016 Rodeo Chairman Zach Fayette shares a similar story.
His father was a Sikeston Jaycee and helped in many ways with the rodeo.
Fayette remembers working with his father as a young child to build the pens at the rodeo grounds.
Following the death of his father, Fayette returned to Sikeston and joined the Jaycees.
“I lived in Oklahoma and I moved back home and joined the Jaycees and these were the first group of guys that took me in after his passing and kind of gave me a place to come to and hang out and I’ve been here ever since. So it kind of holds an extra special meaning.”
Now, as a father, he hopes his son will continue the legacy of creating a place where folks can come to make memories with friends and family.
A portion of the revenue from the rodeo is used to support charities across the area.
That list includes the Kenny Rogers Children’s Center, an organization aimed at improving the quality of life for children with special needs.
Fayette’s mother is the executive director for the center.
“It really brings it home to me and a lot of the other guys that we get to see our hard work out here go into that final result, which is helping the children.”
He says the Jaycees as an organization creates the basis for the community to come together as one.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo.