Little Britches Rodeo competitors star in a big weekend

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Badlands Little Britches Rodeos brought families together at the Kjerstad Event Center March 19, with the competition continuing March 20. It’s an opportunity for younger cowboys and cowgirls to compete in a rodeo setting.

“Poles, barrel racing, and flags” are some of the events sisters Waverly and Paris S. competed in. 

“I think rodeo and the sport of rodeo has a lot to offer. It teaches kids hard work, and there are some really good kids and family in this environment. So I think it’s super, super important,” says Haiden Thompson, alongside her two younger sisters, Taisley and Tinlee. 

Most of the kids competing were cheered on by parents who trotted the arena decades ago.

“As you grow into an adult, you have kids, you want your kids to do what you did,” says Jodi Stoddard, Head of Badlands Little Britches Rodeos. “And so we have a lot of PRCA cowboys and cowgirls that have their kids here. We also just have, you know, somebody starts in it and you just keep going. Grandpa and grandma are following their kids here.”

With such a wide age and event range, entire families can compete in the same day.

Paris Shearer“My son, he’s a judge. My other son is the pick up man. My daughters are in the office helping. My younger ones, they compete, but they’re also helping with goats and whatever else. It’s just something that we all enjoy as a family,” Stoddard adds. 

Plus, kids get rodeo experience in the presence of their biggest supporters.

“It’s no big deal if you mess up or anything. They’re always there to help you with anything,” says competitor Tayden Larson.

In addition to making friends, parents say rodeo teaches their kids valuable lessons about hard work.

“You set your basketball in the gym on the rack when you’re done, and these kids have to feed horses and take care of animals and make sure they’re healthy,” explains Wendy Bechen.

But at the end of the day, it’s all about reaching for the stars, and having fun.

“I’m hoping to win a buckle. I love rodeoing, “competitor  Sylver Bechen says.


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