After a year of cancellations due to the pandemic, the major summertime events are back this year in a big way. This includes the 2021 Jackson County Pro Rodeo.
In fact, when it comes to summertime in the Bellevue area, it doesn’t get much better than taking in the local rodeo, which is slated this year for June 17 through June 19.
The Jackson County Pro Rodeo is ranked one of the top five small rodeos in the United States by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and people from across the Midwest come to enjoy the unique three-day event, which is filled with cowboys, cowgirls, food, music and wholesome fun.
The Pro Rodeo runs for three evenings at the Bellevue Horsemen’s Club arena and grounds west of Bellevue just off the Bellevue-Cascade Road. Gates open at 5 p.m. each evening with rodeo action beginning at 7:30 p.m.
This year, the rodeo is celebrating its 33rd year, in conjunction with the 58th year of the Bellevue Horseman’s Club, whose members organize the annual event, which draws thousands to its arena outside Bellevue.
Families bring their lawn chairs and blankets to line the hill at the Bellevue Horseman’s Club, overlooking the arena and listening to veteran announcer Roger Mooney. Following a kick-off party on Wednesday, Thursday is a great night to bring the whole family.
Events during the Jackson County Pro Rodeo include, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding. The big-thrill events like bronc and especially bull-riding draws gasps from the crowd. Events like steer wrestling and team roping test practical ranching skills, drawing on the county’s rich cattle-breeding tradition.
This year’s Pro Rodeo will feature Matt Merrit, a noted rodeo clown and barrelman, who is known for his dancing skills and entertainment, as well as Dusti Crain-Dickers, a trick rider from St. Peter, Illinois.
A Kids Corral will also be on site, with bounces houses, petting zoo and other youth entertainment.
There are multiple venders on the grounds with a variety of food options, as well as several shopping opportunities and mechanical bull riding.
Also on tap is Miss Rodeo Iowa 2021, Brittany Gunn, who hails from Jefferson, Iowa (see sidebar).
Bernard, Iowa’s Three Hills Rodeo provides stock locally and for rodeos around the nation.
According to Rodeo Chair Lisa (Scheckel) Schroeder, the rodeo started in Bellevue in 1983 and was amateur for a couple years, but quickly became professional in 1987, sanctioned by the PRCA.
“This all started as an idea of a few club members. We had a local stock contractor that worked with us to help get on our feet, as well as the Jackson County Tourism Association,” said Schroeder. “We want to also thank all the amazing volunteers that work to continue to make the rodeo such a success. They are really awesome people.”
The initial chair people included Dick and Mary Bayless and Don and LouAnn Scheckel, and continued on with Roger and Julie Mueller.
“The Bellevue Horsemen’s Club has always been a volunteer organization and all of the great people involved over the years has really made this a successful family event,” said Schroeder.
KICK-OFF PARTY JULY 16
The annual Jackson County Pro Rodeo Kick-off Party will be held at the Bellevue Horsemen’s Club grounds on Wednesday June 16. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.
The event will include live music and jam session featuring Razor Ray Theisen and the gang from the Knights of Columbus Hall in Bellevue.