The excitement: Professional Rodeo comes to Burke

The 31st annual Burke Stampede Rodeo, its first year as a PRCA-sanctioned event, is set to begin this Friday at 7 p.m.

Aerial photo from the 28th Annual Burke Stampede Rodeo in 2017. This year the Burke Stampede Rodeo is making the jump up to the Pro Rodeo Circuit Association beginning with Friday's performance. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade

BURKE -- After surviving an EF-1 tornado in August 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic that put a halt on most rodeos in 2020, the Burke Stampede Rodeo is finally back this weekend.

The three-day annual Burke Stampede Rodeo is set to start Friday, July 16 at 7 p.m. This is the first year Burke is a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association sanctioned event, which means everyone competing in this rodeo is a professional.

"I think we’re leveling up with our competition and the crowd will get to see a better show," Burke Riding Club President Billie Sutton said.

Sutton said he was unsure if a rodeo would be possible this year in Burke after the EF-1 tornado caused $25,000 worth of damages. The Burke Riding Club originally tried to hold a fundraiser in 2020 but was postponed until spring 2021 due to COVID-19. They had to replace bleachers, windows, beer stands, bathrooms and fences.

"We had a lot of community support financially," Sutton said.


"We’re a very resilient community. … It was all volunteer based. People gave up a lot of their time and resources. We just really appreciate all the support."

With 2020 essentially putting most rodeos on hold, the rodeos this year in South Dakota are highly anticipated.

Sutton believes the population of Burke will nearly triple as he expects “a couple thousand” each night to come out and watch the rodeo. The event will also be available live stream to give viewers at home an opportunity to watch.

"People all over the country can now watch our contestants and that brings a lot of exposure to our state, our town, and our sponsors."

Mitchell and Geddes host their own rodeos this week and while Mitchell’s rodeo is PRCA-sanctioned and the Geddes rodeo isn’t, this still gives competitors more opportunities to compete in the area.

Along with steeper competition, nine time PRCA Clown of the Year and three time Coors Man in the Can Justin Rumford will be in attendance at the Burke rodeo grounds.

“That guy is hilarious,” Sutton said.

"We had him in Burke when he was first coming on the scene and the crowd loved him then and he’s even funnier now."


The Burke Stampede Rodeo will also host a Champion’s Challenge bareback riding event that features state high school champion bareback riders from four separate states. Contestants Kashton Ford from Sturgis, South Dakota, Sam Peterson from Helena, Montana, Cash Owens from Truman, Minnesota and Spencer Denaeyer from Seneca, Nebraska will compete for $1,000 in prize money. They will then compete Sunday, July 18 in Lincoln, Nebraska at the National High School Finals Rodeo.

A rodeo dance will be held Friday and Saturday night immediately after the rodeo. The U-Foria band will be performing on both nights.

Other activities will be featured such as calf roping, steer wrestling, ladies goat tying, ladies breakaway roping, team roping, mixed team roping, saddle bronc riding, senior men's breakaway roping, barrel racing, bull riding and a cowboy breakfast.

Advance tickets are available locally in Burke for $12 and tickets at the gate will be $15.

Related Topics: RODEO
Branden is a sports reporter that graduated from Purdue University Northwest with a bachelor's degree in communications and a focus in journalism. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 and covers prep and collegiate athletics. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Full-Court Press, providing a weekly web-exclusive look at high school basketball throughout all of South Dakota. Branden can be reached at and found on Twitter at @bhullreports.
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