Fourth year of the Outlaw Rodeo in Randolph County

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MOBERLY - The Outlaw Rodeo, which is part of the Randolph County Fair, kicked off Friday evening at the Rothwell Park Rodeo Arena in Moberly.

This is the fourth year the rodeo has been a part of the fair. The Randolph County fair itself has been running for more than 140 years.

The rodeo is completely ran by volunteers and paid for by sponsors and ticket sales. The approximate price of the rodeo is $11,250.

Many of the riders have a chance of qualifying for state finals, and some are even gunning for nationals. The 15 riders from each event who win the most money throughout the season will qualify for state finals in October.

The Outlaw Rodeo was the fourth or fifth competition of the season for most of the riders. Many of them will compete in rodeos nearly every weekend from now until state finals. Some of the more seasoned riders, like bareback rider Dave Grayson who has been competing for 35 years, only compete in about 10 rodeos a year.

Grayson said a crucial part of doing well in a rodeo is the horse you draw. He got lucky in Saturday night's drawing.

"The horse I got here tonight, she's a really good horse. She's the bucking horse of the year, and I've been on her several times and she's just fun to ride," he said.

The riders participating in rodeos across the state make up a close-knit community. Many of the riders have been friends for years and hangout before and after competitions.

In the rodeo business, passion for the sport begins at a young age. Aspiring saddle bronc rider, 9-year-old Jate McCollum, helps out his uncle who is the owner of Outlaw Rodeo Productions. "Sometimes I work the out gate, I help run calves."

The Outlaw Rodeo concludes Saturday night, but the rest of the Randolph County Fair will be held on July 20 - 25, Monday through Saturday.