Pioneer Days gets under way in Clovis

By Tonya Garner: Freedom Newspapers

Rodeo royalty, clowns and cowboys will be in attendance at the upcoming Pioneer Days.

The six-day event will kick-off at 5 p.m. Monday with the coronation of the Pioneer Days Rodeo Queen. According to pageant coordinator Wilma Fulgham, six girls ages 5 to 9 were judged on personality, appearance and horsemanship. The youngsters were critiqued on how well they can ride a horse and their ability to handle the animal for the horsemanship portion of the pageant, Fulgham said.
Following the crowning, children ages 13 and under will participate in the 31st annual Little Buckaroo Rodeo. The young cowboys and cowgirls will compete for ribbons and trophies in various horse events at the Curry County Mounted Patrol Arena.

Coordinator Karen McDaniel said the speed events will include barrel racing, pole bending and a flag race.
Residents can wear their boots and jeans and attend Cowboy Church at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Following the worship service, Little Buckaroo participants will compete in foot events following the service. McDaniel said youngsters will race using stick horses.

A rodeo barbecue, which is open to the public, will be held at noon on Wednesday at Bender Dodge.

Thursday will feature a Rodeo Encounter, where residents will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with rodeo talent.
Autographs and demonstrations will also be available.
The 36th annual PRCA Rodeo will begin Thursday night at 8 p.m. and will continue through Saturday.

The Little Buckaroo Rodeo will continue on Saturday at 1 p.m. with sheep and calf riding, dummy roping and rodeo clown competitions.

“They (participants) are really cute,” McDaniel said, “and we always have a really good turnout.”

Throughout the week, 13 young women will compete for the title of Miss Rodeo New Mexico. They will be judged on poise, interview skills, public speaking, rodeo knowledge, beauty and horsemanship.

Fulgham, who has overseen the pageant for many years, said she enjoys seeing the girls blossom and develop public speaking skills as a result of the pageant.

The winner will act as a representative in her community by participating in rodeos and attending public events such as groundbreakings, Fulgham said.