The 51st annual Winner Elks Rodeo will be held July 24, 25, 26 at the Tripp County Rodeo Arena.
The rodeo is a benefit for LifeScape outreach program which serves children statewide from centers in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.
New this year is an outstanding specialty act from Ponotoc, Mississippi. This act is sponsored in part by Elevate Agronomics of Winner. Nationally known performer Tim “Wild Thang” Lepard and his Team Ghost Riders will entertain the crowd with his capuchin monkeys riding border collies and herding rams into a pen.
Kids will love watching the monkeys dressed up as cowboys. Little E, short for Elvis, is a character and likes to show off. Fans are welcome to bring oranges, apples, bananas and monkey chow, plus bones and liver treats for the dogs. Wild Thang performs at 30-something minor league baseball games a year. He also does half time shows at the NFL. Up until this year when Covid hit, Lepard is on the road 360 days a year. Two years ago, Hollenbeck Rodeo had the pleasure of working a rodeo with Wild Thang and Team Ghost Riders. He calls his animals the Ghost Riders because watching them is like looking at a ghost. You just can’t believe what you’re seeing!
Coming back to the Winner Elks Rodeo is funnyman Adam “Jelly Bean” Carlson from Brainerd, MN. Being a former high jumper and track athlete helps him bring high energy to every show with an upbeat tempo. Adam is a health and physical education teacher and coaches track at Aitkin High School. Adam brings out his inner “Jelly Bean” in class to create a fun learning environment for his students and to help get his lesson to stick.
The competition begins at 7:30 each night with over $35,000 in prize money in all standard events. To add to the excitement is a $1,000 bounty bull each night sponsored by Frontier Motors. The bull rider who has the highest score or if no score, rides the longest, gets a chance to ride the bounty bull. If he rides the bounty bull he wins $1,000. There will be a bounty bull all three nights with $1,000 up for grabs each night.
Ranch bronc riding has a $300 purse each night. The entry fee is $50. It is limited to six each night and persons can enter by calling 842-5830.
Due to Covid 19, the rodeo committee decided it was in the best interest of kids and adults to not have the muttin bustin and the candy scramble this year.
Rodeo stock is provided by Hollenbeck Rodeo Co. of Winner, named SDRA stock contractor of the year. The Hollenbecks have been the stock contractor since the first Elks Rodeo in 1969.
Calling the action will be SDRA Finals announcer, Alan Odden of Ft.Pierre. Dusty May of Creighton and Colton Kovarik, Kearney will be the bull fighters.
Winner BPO Does No. 238 will run the lunch stand, serving grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos and soft drinks. All food & drinks will be covered. Hand sanitizer will be available.
The Elks will have a beer stand. No coolers please.
There will be 50/50 tickets available each night & drawings held for beef certificates and SD lottery tickets.
The rodeo is sanctioned by the South Dakota Rodeo Association, Mid-States Rodeo Association, Northwest Ranch Cowboys Association and Nebraska State Rodeo Association and the WCRA.
Proceeds from the rodeo go to the outreach program for LifeScape which served children last year from Tripp County, 23 from Todd County, 10 from Mellette County, 7 from Jones County, 28 from Lyman County and 5 from Gregory County.
The rodeo started in 1969 under the leadership of four Winer Elks members–Bill Dillon, Vince Hollenbeck, Dick Kazda and Harold Jans. LifeScape, (then Crippled Childrens Hospital & School) had a traveling rehab unit that visited communities across the state providing clinics for children with physical disabilities, mostly polio.
In Winner, the clinics were held at the Elks Lodge. The four men were touched by the plight of the children and their families and decided to start a fundraising rodeo to help. The event has been held every year since with the event raising well over $250,000 over the years.
Admission at the gate is $12; advance tickets are $10. Kids 10 and under attend for free.