BAKER — A rainy Friday night in Baker didn’t stop the opening night of the 26th Annual Old Spanish Trail Rodeo at the Barnhill Arena. Cowboys and cowgirls rode and roped. Clown Rudy Burns kept the audience laughing. And Trish Lynn and the All American Cowgirl Chicks wowed the crowd with a dazzling performance.
BAKER — A rainy Friday night in Baker didn’t stop the opening night of the 26th Annual Old Spanish Trail Rodeo at the Barnhill Arena.
Cowboys and cowgirls rode and roped. Clown Rudy Burns kept the audience laughing. And Trish Lynn and the All American Cowgirl Chicks wowed the crowd with a dazzling performance.
Old Spanish Trail Rodeo photos>>>
The highlight of the night was when Wounded Warrior Master Sergeant Joseph R. Deslauriers was recognized for his military service.
This year’s rodeo marked the fourth straight year the Cowgirl Chicks have been the featured act. Lynn said it’s an easy decision to return each year.
“We love Baker, Fla.,” she said. “The enthusiasm that the rodeo committee has for doing something spectacular like presenting the statue to the soldier is very touching to me.
“All the aspects of the rodeo are my favorite part. But when the community comes together and gets on their feet to acknowledge a hero, not only for the United States of America, but for their own community, it’s pretty touching.”
Lynn said the audience never sees what goes into the All American Cowgirl Chicks putting on their show.
“A lot of people see the glitz and glamour in the arena,” she said, “but we were drowned rats tonight. The sky the fell out today and it just poured.
“We left Texas Wednesday night at 10 p.m. and we got to Florida on Thursday at 5 p.m. We haven’t stopped – just to get the horses unloaded and do all the meets and greets, go to the rodeo station and those types of things, that’s what it takes and we love it.”
The Cowgirl Chicks will be back in Texas this week for another event. Even with all the travel there has to be time for the riders to work with the horses.
“Horses need to be maintained every day,” Lynn said. “It’s just like any craft you do, if you put it down it gets rusty and that kind of thing can happen.
“As long as they keep putting up with us, we are going to keep putting it out there.”
Baker Area Recreation Association president Mark Todd said the rain didn’t catch the rodeo committee off guard.
“We knew either it was going to rain or not rain,” Todd said. “Either way we were going to have a rodeo. In the rain we are under cover, but it certainly dampens a lot of spectators from wanting come out in the weather, but overall we had a great turnout.
“We had about a 90 percent capacity crowd and we couldn’t have asked for anything better on a rainy night.”
Todd said this year’s rodeo had a record number of competitors
“It has grown over the years primarily because it’s a PCA (Professional Cowboys Association Rodeo),” Todd said. “Herbert Theroit, our stock contractor, has a tremendous following. Tonight (Friday) we had a little over 90 riders and tomorrow night (Saturday) we will have a little over 125 riders.
“That in itself is a large increase from what we’ve had in past years. The rodeo sport is coming back around with the economy and things. Hopefully we are promoting it well on our part.”
Email News Bulletin Sports Editor Randy Dickson, follow him on Twitter or call 850-682-6524.