They give it all “all they’ve got.”
That is the lure National Senior Pro Rodeo Association competitors have for attracting people to see them perform.
“We might be past our prime, but it’s still great to watch for folks that come out,” competitor Jeff Frizell said.
The City of Socorro’s Sports Complex hosted a three day event for the National Senior Pro Rodeo Association this week. The NSPRA is comprised of former rodeo professionals who travel to various cities and towns to showcase their continued love of rodeo.
Socorro Tourism Director Jim Dewey Brown brought this event here. He has been looking to bring more events to the Sports Complex.
“It’s always great to bring people to our city,” Brown said. “We’ll have to see how the numbers turn out, but I’m excited for this event.”
NSPRA senior rodeo secretary Karen Kissell said she was excited about the organization coming to Socorro for the first time.
“Senior pro has been looking to expand to more cities over the past few years, so we’re really excited to be here in Socorro for the first time,” Kissell said. “Most competitors realize they can’t compete with the younger generation. But this association allows them to still show off their skills and passion for rodeo. Having partnerships with towns like this allows them to travel as well as do what they love.”
Contestants competed in a variety of events, including saddle bronc, barrel racing, team roping and tie-down.
One competitor was thrown from his horse and slammed into the wall before rodeo officials were able to get him to safety.
Between each event athletes were honing their skills for the next event.
“You’re always getting ready. Doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it,” said one contestant as she guided her horse in circles with a lasso in hand to prepare for the team roping competition.
Paul Summers is the announcer for the rodeo complex. During downtime at the rodeo events, he keeps the audience engaged with jokes and odd stories about the city. A former rodeo participant, Summers said he quit competing and moved on to announcing, “because I just got old. It’s that simple.”
“This will be a big help to us,” Summers said. “It brings people to our city and let’s them see what we have to offer. Plus, all the money it will give local business. I don’t see a downside to hosting an event like this.”
Several contestants who were visiting Socorro for the first time gave the city high marks.
“We really love Socorro,” Kay Bowles from Junction, Texas, said. “It’s a beautiful facility to be at. Everyone in town has been so nice. I won’t speak for anyone, but I can tell you all the guys and gals I’ve talked with are definitely enjoying themselves. Plus it’s just so beautiful out here.”
In addition to the NSPRA events, the Rising Stars Rodeo Group hosted a competition of top high school rodeo participants from around the state to compete in a bronc riding competition. Seven of the state’s top athletes squared off in an event not affiliated with the normal high school competitions.
The NSPRA will host their next series of events in Alberta, Canada, starting on July 17.