A year off due to the pandemic didn’t seem to dampen spirits for the 2022 Roots N’ Boots Rodeo at Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Centre.
The rodeo ran from March 17-20.
“We had a hugely successful event,” said Rich Robertson, vice president of the Friends of Horseshoe Park. “We had sold-out rodeo performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- with 2,000 seats filled each night -- and a near sellout for the Thursday bull riding with 1,858 seats sold.”
The Friends of Horseshoe Park, an all-volunteer nonprofit group, works hand-in-hand with Queen Creek officials on managing the upkeep and attracting events to the Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Centre.
“Part of our pitch is that Roots N’ Boots is more than just rodeo,” Robertson said before the event. “It’s a festival around the rodeo. We have the performances every night, but during the day there is a variety of other events that are going on, such as the carnival and vendors.”
Last year’s rodeo was canceled because of the pandemic, but organizers were expecting large crowds during the 12th annual event, and they got them.
“We are still calculating the numbers, but there were thousands of people who participated in the other events, including hundreds at each of the Saturday morning kids’ activities,” Robertson said.
The activities for kids included a Special Kids Rodeo. There also were other events for the adult kids too, such as the dances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights; the carnival; and a variety of other activities.
“We definitely lived up to our slogan, ‘More Than a Rodeo,’” Robertson said.
In past years, Robertson said that between 12,000 to 14,000 people go through the event. As people begin to venture out, Robertson said the rodeo would be great for people hungry for entertainment and outdoor entertainment.
Roots N’ Boots is a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Women's Professional Rodeo Association event. It has all eight rodeo events: barrel racing, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, team roping, tie down roping, steer wrestling and bull riding.
Winners get points toward future association rodeos and prize purses.
While hardcore rodeo fans appreciated the association competitions, Roots N’ Boots also draws in the communities surrounding Queen Creek, especially children.
“It's an opportunity for residents of Queen Creek, but not only Queen Creek but also the surrounding communities to experience agriculture in various aspects of agriculture, whether it be the rodeo or whether it be attending the petting zoo or attending Kids and Critters,” said Angela Askey, a member of the Roots N’ Boots committee, which organizes the event.
Some of the proceeds from the event go toward rodeo winners’ prize money but Robertson said, “any profit that we make goes to support Horseshoe Park, which is a nonprofit. We've made purchases of things like equipment for the park. We put a lot of money into that new structure, the covered arena.”
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