DAYTON: Dayton Championship Rodeo Committee

Keeping the rodeo tradition

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen The first round of Knocker Ball ended in a victory for the bull rather than Shane Halbur, of Dayton, as the ball deflated and he lost his safety vest at the Dayton Championship Rodeo Friday night. Halbur was treated for a cut on his head.

For the members of the Dayton Championship Rodeo Committee, planning is a year-long process that involves many people, many hours and tons of dedication.

The committee is made up of five representatives from the Dayton Wranglers Saddle Club and five representatives from the Dayton Community Club.

The rodeo is the biggest annual event in Dayton. Each year it brings in thousands of visitors for both the rodeo events and the annual Labor Day Parade.

The committee is dedicated to making sure they have a great rodeo to attend and an enjoyable visit to Dayton.

It takes many hands from around the area.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Hunter Gree, 9, of Humboldt, removes his hat as the annual Dayton Rodeo Championship Rodeo gets started Friday night.

Lynne Heckman, of Boone, is a five-year veteran of the committee.

“For an event this size, you have to have members from other communities. It’s great to get that support from other communities. We need the support of all of them.”

Heckman came to the committee via the Saddle Club.

“My kids grew up showing horses here,” she said. “This is my way of giving back to the community.”

The rodeo has a long history in Dayton. This year is the 82nd rodeo year.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Nate McFadden manages to stay on the horse but looses his hat Friday night during the Bucking Bronc event at the 81st Dayton Championship Rodeo. Rodeo action continues tonight and Sunday night at 7 p.m. and on Monday at 2 p.m. The annual Dayton Labor Day Parade starts at 10 a.m. on Monday as well.

The committee works hard to respect the traditions of the show and also to incorporate modern features into it.

“It’s a fine line to walk,” she said.

One of the things the committee has embraced is various social media. She said it helps attract visitors and really shows them that they’re heading to a well-run professional event.

“We’re not just competing against local events,” she said, “but other options three hours away.”

Matt Johnson, of Stratford, is chairman of the committee.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Members of the Dayton Championship Rodeo Committee meet recently to work on finalizing plans for the 2019 rodeo event. Members of the committee are, clockwise from center, Matt Johnson, chairman, Heather Reek, Lynne Heckman, John Porter, Clayton Bills, Travis Klingson, Gary Schlief, Kevan Smith, Chris Mallicoat, John Skoglund and Jerry Neimeyer. Not pictured: Joe Tuel and Bob Runge.

He said the planning for the next year’s event actually starts before this year’s rodeo is over.

He said they’ve already booked several acts, bull fighters and rodeo clowns for the 2020 rodeo.

He loves it.

“There’s a lot of tradition here,” he said. “I grew up in Dayton. I grew up around the rodeo.”

Another member recalled Johnson’s early days.

“You snuck in under the fence,” he joked.

“That never happened,” Johnson replied.

Heather Reek, of Dayton, is serving her second year on the committee.

“I wanted to be involved in the small community that’s building to look to the future,” she said. “We’re supporting a small town; we’re putting on a really good show.”

She said the attitude of the committee can best be described as a team.

“We all work as a team,” she said. “We do what’s in the best interest of Dayton and the rodeo.”

Committee member John Skoglund, of Dayton, has a simple reason for being part of the committee.

“Because I love it,” he said.

The full committee is made up of Lynne Heckman, Boone; John Porter, Dayton; Gary Schlief, Dayton; Kevan Smith, Gowrie; Chris Mallicoat, Boone; Jerry Neimeyer, Harcourt; Matt Johnson, Stratford; Heather Reek, Dayton; Clayton Bills, Fort Dodge; Travis Klingson, Paton; John Skoglund, Dayton; Joe Tuel and Bob Runge.

This year’s Dayton Championship Rodeo will be held on Labor Day weekend, as per tradition.


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