Roots N’ Boots rodeo offers activities for all ages

 

Roots N’ Boots Queen Creek returns this weekend with an assortment of new and recurring events that organizers say help it to live up to its slogan, “More than a rodeo.”

Roots N’ Boots Queen Creek, presented by Banner Ironwood Medical Center, is an annual community event that celebrates Queen Creek’s rural heritage. A range of agricultural and western-oriented activities, including a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association-sanctioned rodeo, and shows are offered for spectators and competitors, small kids, teens and adults.

Roots N’ Boots Queen Creek is held the second weekend of March, which is March 11-13 this year, at Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Centre, 20464 E. Riggs Road in Queen Creek.

“In addition to all our rodeo events, there will be kids activities, lots of shopping, food and western wear vendors and a lot of other activities,” Brook Thomas, Roots N’ Boots events coordinator, said during an interview. She said she expects 30 vendors this year.

People can pay the $5 parking fee and have access to all the events outside the main arena, Ms. Thomas said.

“There is something to do each day for people of all ages, from kids to people in their 90s,” Vickey Wootten, who oversees the Roots N’ Boots special kids rodeo, said during an interview.

Not all activities and displays are provided all three days. The full schedule of events and times is available on the Roots N’ Boots website.

The events include:

Community competition

The Roots N’ Boots Queen Creek will kick off its 2016 edition Wednesday, March 9, and Thursday, March 10, with free nights of community roping, barrel-racing and sorting. Parking and spectator admission are free; there is a fee to enter the events, according to the event website.

For the first time, there will be a Wednesday community competition. The Sherwood Timed Event Series, an ongoing series hosted by Sherwood Rope Horses, will take place 4 p.m.-midnight.

On Thursday, Heart Cry Church will host the roping, which takes place 6 p.m.-midnight, and Friends of 4-H will host the barrels racing, which takes place 4 p.m.-midnight.

There will be no vendors during the Wednesday-Thursday events. The carnival will hold a soft opening with limited rides from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday.

There also will be a community sorting event noon-4 p.m. on Friday. It is hosted by Friends of 4-H, according to the event website.

These events give community members an opportunity to compete as part of Roots N’ Boots Queen Creek, according to the release.

Also for the first time, it will offer women’s breakaway roping during the PRCA performance and slack on Friday, Friends of Horseshoe Park President Jon Wootten, said during an interview.

Breakaway roping is a rodeo event that features a calf and one mounted cowgirl, according to http://lakecountyrodeo.sharepoint.com/Pages/BreakawayRoping.aspx, a webpage provided by Mr. Wootten. The calves are moved through narrow pathways leading to a chute with springloaded doors. A 2-foot rope is fastened around the calf’s neck which is used to ensure that the calf gets a head start. On one side of the chute will be the breakaway roper who will attempt to rope the calf.

“Any female can enter the women’s breakaway roping, and we have a relatively large breakaway population in Queen Creek,” Mr. Wootten said.

Roots N’ Boots Queen Creek is planned, organized and produced by Friends of Horseshoe Park, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Last year’s event attracted about 14,000 people over three days to the park, including the 4,700 who attended the rodeo, Mr. Wootten said. He said revenue for the three days fell $1,500 short of covering the $110,000 it costs to put on the event. To keep expenses down for 2016, the committee eliminated a specialty act and cut down its marketing costs, he said. In addition, area merchants have donated hay to feed the stock animals and veterinarians are donating their time for on-site duties, he said.

Reducing expenses does not mean Roots N’ Boots will decrease its selection of events and activities, Mr. Wootten said.

“We keep audiences looking forward to Roots N’ Boots two ways. We try to make changes every year and we keep trying to find ways for the community to be a part of the event,” Mr. Wootten said.

Family fun

Activities include a carnival and midway, dining and shopping, pony rides, petting zoo, a family rodeo, Xtreme Teen Rodeo, a special kids rodeo and Arizona Cowboy Mounted Shooters exhibition.
Saturday’s family rodeo is for kids 3-11. It offers free mutton-busting, a Da$h for Ca$h, dummy roping, stick-horse barrel races, sack races and a tin can shoot ‘em up event.

People ages 12-19 can try their hand at the free Xtreme Teen Rodeo, also on Saturday. Traditional gymkhana and roping activities will be offered with a twist: no competitors will be on horseback. Both individual and team competitions will be available so bring friends, according to the release.

Friday’s special kids rodeo is specifically for those members of the community ages 5 to high school who receive special-education services that qualify through the Arizona Department of Developmental Disabilities.

Cowboy Church will again be led by Pastor Billy Van Camp of Heart Cry Church at 9 a.m. on Sunday, prior to the special kids rodeo.

PRCA rodeo
Roots N’ Boots Queen Creek will again feature Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association performances at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Saturday night typically sells out so organizers recommend spectators purchase their tickets early.

Tickets

Tickets for the Roots N’ Boots Queen Creek Pro Rodeo performances and carnival are for sale. Rodeo box seats are $24; general admission tickets are $16 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under.

A family pack of two adult and two children’s general admission seats is $40. Active military can purchase a general admission ticket for $10.

Same-day PRCA tickets can only be purchased at the Horseshoe Park box office but there are several ways to purchase PRCA tickets prior to Roots N’ Boots:

•At Queen Creek Performing Arts Center, 22149 E. Ocotillo Road, 480-987-7469 or online.

•At Queen Creek Library Annex, 21802 E. Ellsworth Road.

•At Dos Cowgirls, 18350 E. San Tan Blvd. No. 113, 480-516-1260.

•At Horseshoe Park business office, 480-358-3793.

Carnival pre-sale tickets are $18 for a card that can be used either for a single-day, unlimited rides wristband or exchanged for 40 tickets. Onsite prices will be individual tickets for $1, 20 tickets for $17 and 30 tickets for $21. A single-day, unlimited rides wristband costs $25 at the event.

Carnival pre-event tickets can be purchased through Thursday, March 10, at all rodeo ticket outlets except QCPAC. They also can be purchased at the Queen Creek Branch Library Recreation Annex, 21802 S. Ellsworth Road. People may call 480-358-3700 for ticket information.

Parking

Parking is $5 each day with $10 preferred parking being offered on an as-available basis. Preferred parking is on a first-come, first-parked basis, according to a press release.

Check out www.rootsnboots.org for all the details, including how to volunteer. There are many opportunities for organizations and individuals to volunteer at Roots N’ Boots Queen Creek, which is critical to the continuation of the community event, according to the release.

Volunteers needed

It takes about 200 volunteers to put on the rodeo, but only 151 people have offered their help so far for 2016, Mr. Wootten said. He attributes some of the void to this year’s spring break schedule for local school districts, from which Roots N’ Boots draws many of its younger volunteers.

Queen Creek and Chandler school districts are on spring break March 7-18, Gilbert Public Schools is on break March 14-18 and Florence Unified School District is on break March 14-25, according to their websites.

Volunteers are needed in all areas.

“It’s pretty much across the board. We need parking help more than anything else but we also need ticket-takers and people to handle other duties,” Mr. Wootten said. “We have certain spots where we cannot have kids but there are many where we can use them. Minors must have their parents sign a waiver.”

To volunteer, visit the event website.

News Editor Wendy Miller can be contacted at 480-982-7799 and via e-mail at qcnews@newszap.com, or follow her on Twitter @WendyNewszap123.

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