Jack Mangum

Jack Mangum is an experienced mutton buster looking forward to covering his sheep at the GCPRA Finals at the Mohave Crossing Event Center during pre-rodeo festivities Friday and Saturday. 

LAUGHLIN — Keeping the way of rodeo alive starts with teaching children. The youth exhibition is one part of the Grand Canyon Professional Rodeo Association's Finals event.

The finals will be Nov. 8 through 10 at the Avi Resort and Casino's Mojave Crossing Event Center, 101 S. Aztec Road. The youth exhibition will be at 9 a.m. MST Friday, Nov. 8 at the event center.

"The youth exhibition rodeo is an invitation 'rodeo' where children from the community can come interact with the cowboys and cowgirls and learn some things about rodeo," said Patsy Alexander, GCPRA secretary.

Children will have the option to participate in dummy roping, stick horse barrel racing, bouncy ball bucking and face painting to name a few of the activities, said Alexander. GCPRA finalists are invited to come out and talk with youth about rodeo and what it means to compete.

The exhibition is a community event and is meant to give youth a chance to get an idea about rodeo, she said. It helps children learn about the ways of Western life.

"We hope that this will encourage them to want to come watch the finals in the competitors compete later that night or on Saturday," said Alexander.

Organizers hope to make this an annual event.

"This is our inaugural year to do this youth event, and we are hoping that it becomes a recurring event each year," said Alexander. "We would just like to try to give back to the community, we are very blessed and grateful to have such a wonderful venue for our finals."

The rodeo finals kicks off with the ceremony Thursday, Nov. 8 for contestants. It begins at 9 p.m. MST.

First round, or incentive round, will begin at 1 p.m. MST Friday, Nov. 9. The event includes barrel racing, tie down and barrels.

The open events performance begins at 7 p.m. MST Friday. Events include bareback, steer wrestling, tie down, saddle bronc riding, breakaway, team roping, barrels and bullriding.

Incentive events round two begins at 10 a.m. MST Saturday. Events include barrels, tie down and team roping.

The final opens events round begins at 2 p.m. MST Saturday. Events include bareback, steer wrestling, tie down, saddle bronc riding, team roping, barrels and bullriding.

There are pre-rodeo events prior to competition beginning about 6:30 p.m. MST Friday and 12:30 p.m. MST Saturday, which include Native American dancers, singers, a drill team presentation and mutton busting for aspiring cowboys and cowgirls, according to Teri Murphy, who handles marketing and special events with the GCPRA.

Jack Mangum is looking forward to participating in the sheep riding event, as he has  at other rodeo events in the Tri-state.

“It’s fun and a little scary,” said the 7-year-old pictured on the cover wi th his cousin Colin Salari. “After your first time mutton bustin’ it’s not that scary anymore. So  you basically just hold on to its fur, wrap  your legs tight and hold on!”

Mangum is hopeful his experience will give him an advantage.

“I feel good and I’m ready to do it again,” said Mangum. “I really hope I get the highest score.”

(3) comments

Eric Mills


This misguided effort is more a way of building a future audience for rodeo than anything else. Be aware that nearly EVERY animal welfare organization in the country condemns rodeo due to its inherent cruelty, and for the terrible message such mistreatment of farm animals sends to impressionable young children. For nearly all the animals involved, rodeo is merely a detour en route to the slaughterhouse.

"Mutton busting" has NOTHING to do with life on a working ranch. Small children, often in tears, coerced into riding terrified sheep. Promoters and parents alike should be cited for both animal abuse and child endangerment. This event has been banned in New Zealand at the behest of the NZ Veterinary Association, which deemed the sheep "not built to carry the weight." American sheep are no different.

HEALTH DANGERS: A few years back a three-year-old little boy in central Texas, DerekScott "Bubba" Kirby, ingested a mouthful of E. coli-infested dirt after falling off his sheep. He went into a two-week coma, swelled up twice his normal size, then suffered heart, lung and kidney failure, nearly dying in the process. He will likely have serious health problems the rest of his life. (See Google.) Probably every rodeo arena in the country is infected with E. coli. PARENTS BEWARE! You're putting your kids at serious risk.

Most of rodeo is bogus from the git-go. REAL working ranch hands never routinely rode bulls, or wrestled steers, or rode bareback, or practiced calf roping (babies!) as a timed event. Nor did they put flank straps on the animals, nor work them over in the holding chutes with "hotshots," kicks and slaps. Some "sport"! Indeed, rodeo is not a sport at all, it's an exercise in DOMINATION. True sport involves willing, equally-matched participants. Rodeo does not qualify.

Legislation is needed every year in every state to outlaw this cruelty. Until that happy day, BOYCOTT ALL RODEOS AND THEIR CORPORATE SPONSORS. Follow the money.

Eric Mills, coordinator

Animal Compassion

Let's leave animals out of our "sports", and let's definitely keep kids off of and away from animals that are abused, provoked, intimidated, taunted and maimed. Surely we can do better than this, Human Friends ~


A family member is a neurologist. When I told him that kids as young as three were riding sheep in a rodeo, he said it is a matter of time before one of them receives permanent injuries. He considers children participating in rodeos as child abuse and wonders what the parents are thinking. The little boy who got a mouth full of arena dirt with E. coli in it almost died from kidney failure. Who knows if his kidneys will sustain him as he ages. Also children should not be abusing animals for fun. What is this teaching them? As a former prosecutor, many violent criminals abused animals when they were young. Is this the future we want for these kids?

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