First-ever Charles Mix Saddle Club Rodeo kicks off with a bang
GEDDES — Once a weed-riddled arena, the site of the Charles Mix Saddle Club Rodeo looked pristine over the weekend.
The weeds were pulled and dust was cleaned off of the old arena this month as it became the home for the first-ever Charles Mix Saddle Club Rodeo, which took place Friday and Saturday.
The saddle club was tasked with cleaning up the arena for the new rodeo, which was created as a way to bring people into town and to rejuvenate the old rodeos that once took place in Geddes.
And it was no easy feat.
According to Jeremiah DeJong, a saddle club member, the arena has not been used in 10 to 15 years except for a mounted shooting event, which ended two years ago at the Geddes community's Fur Traders Days.
The committee took action cleaning up the arena in May, which included mowing the grass, softening up the ground by disking, adding sand and spraying for weeds.
The old concession stand was also removed to make way for the new concession stand, which was brought from the nearby Geddes baseball fields. The crow's nest was moved to the center of the arena and bleachers were added around the facility.
The club also rented out iron to strengthen the arena's outside walls and brought in chute gates and corrals for the stock.
Along with cleaning up the arena, finding a good weekend to hold the first annual event was another challenge for the new committee.
Originally, the committee had three weekends to choose from, but conflicts arose with the stock contractors being in Winner and Irene for rodeos. The committee then settled on the weekend of July 14 and 15, which lined up with rodeos in Burke and Mitchell.
"The best thing we figured was if there was other rodeos in the area the cowboys will try to hit all the rodeos in the area," DeJong said. "We decided the weekend of the Burke rodeo and the Mitchell rodeo so now these cowboys can kind of go and do everything they want."
The committee also focused its planning efforts on attracting a crowd to the new rodeo, hoping to draw in attendees from communities close to Geddes.
"We are hoping to get (people) 50 to 60 miles from Geddes and pull those people (here)," DeJong said. " ... We are just hoping we can get a crowd to watch the contestants."
DeJong credits the community, which came together to volunteer time and talents to make the first rodeo a success, and hopefully a continued tradition.
The Charles Mix 4-H program was in charge of the concessions Friday night and Saturday. And breakfast was made Saturday morning by the Geddes Historical Society for contestants and fans who wanted to attend.
"That's part of the small town deal. We are going to have a ton of help to get this thing up and running." DeJong said.
Sponsorship came in from many local businesses within Geddes as well as Platte, Lake Andes, Armour and Parkston. Volunteers also attended the event to help as ticket takers and livestock handlers.
"It's going to be a community (event)," Tom Varilek, saddle club member, said in June. "And not just the Geddes community."