Prep underway for ‘Oregon Trail Rodeo’

Local4 News at 5
Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 8:31 AM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Kool-Aid Days is just days away in Hastings and for the past few years it’s been paired with the Oregon Trail Rodeo.

Crews are preparing for the big weekend ahead at Adams County Fairgrounds. They’re building pins, watering dirt, and getting all the framework of preparation prepared for a big weekend. They only have a month to prep because work can’t start until after the Adams County Fair.

Co-Chairman, Patrick Niles said after the fair is over, him and some friends would come to the fairgrounds on the weekend to build pins. He said it takes six hours a day to build pins. Wednesday, they were putting water tanks in the pins for livestock arriving. Niles said the entire process takes about three weeks. they have to advocate for sponsors and get cowboys signed up. The next step in preparation is getting hay into the pins. He also explained how they get the ring ready the rodeo.

“We have a tract machine we call it, it works the dirt. It makes it softer than hard dirt you know it just makes it softer for landings and stuff,” said Niles. “Like I said probably two weeks prior he’s out here putting water down and working it, and just getting it all ready.”

Niles said Justin Wall puts a lot of time in after his day job getting the arena ready. Wall has put 15,000 gallons of water on the arena. if weather conditions continue to be dry and hot. They’re also thinking about building a shaded area to protect livestock from the heat. Adding, it’s important to keep the ground saturated because it would turn into a dust bowl. Being paired with Kool-Aid days has boosted the popularity of Oregon Trail Rodeo.

“Being partnered with Kool-Aid Days has really helped us out quite a bit. We have sold out our grand stands, especially on Friday and Saturday night with Kool-Aid days here which we’ve never done before,” said Niles.

Niles said he recommends getting your tickets early because Saturday is usually a packed house. He also said some of the best cowboys in the country are participating in this year’s rodeo.

“It’s important for us to bring the rodeo culture to Hastings, Nebraska every year to remind people of our history and stuff. You know rodeo started years ago, and it’s a way of life back then.”

Niles said the cowboys in the rodeo are striving o secure a spot in the top 15 of their respective categories because those cowboys get to compete in the National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas.