Rumford family readies for entertaining weekend at rodeo
By DAWNE LEIKER
They are quite familiar with the lyrics to "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys," but that hasn't stopped members of the Rumford family from spending much of their lives in rodeo arenas.
This weekend, the talents of three Rumfords will be evident at the 46th annual Fort Hays State University Rodeo as Bronc Rumford, coach of the FHSU rodeo team, is joined by his sons Justin, a nationally recognized rodeo clown, and Ty, an FHSU senior and team member.
Performances are slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday, 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Doug Phillip Arena on Golf Course Road, just off the U.S. Highway 183 Bypass in Hays.
Bronc Rumford, although he admitted a potential bias, said he was looking forward to Justin Rumford's entertainment during Friday and Saturday's performances.
"He's one of the hottest entertainers in rodeo at the present time," Bronc Rumford said of Justin. "He's worked hard at that, and he's booked all year long."
Bronc Rumford said his own association with the FHSU rodeo dates back most of his life, with his father contributing to the rodeo as a livestock producer in the 1960s.
"My whole family's in rodeo," he said. "But we've always kind of joked in our family, we've tried to drive our kids away from rodeo and get real jobs.
"Become a banker or a lawyer or something that is more mainstream."
However, no family member has yet to resist the pull of the rodeo.
Rumford's daughter Haley Schneeberger, married to a reserve world champion calf roper, herself is a five-time professional rodeo secretary of the year.
And his grandkids?
"Looks like they're going to be cowboys unless something changes," Bronc Rumford said, letting out a laugh. "My oldest grandson really likes to play baseball, so we're hoping maybe we'll get him into baseball where there's some really big money."
The FHSU rodeo will mark the ninth rodeo for the FHSU team, in a fall and spring season of 10 rodeos throughout Kansas and Oklahoma. The team's final regular season rodeo will be at Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Okla.
To date, FHSU's team is doing "pretty well," Bronc Rumford said, with some team members making "tremendous strides."
Six hundred competitors from 26 colleges and universities will show their skills at the weekend's rodeo events. In addition, Rumford estimated more than 3,000 coaches, staff members, families and spectators would provide an economic boost to Hays during the four-day period.
Advance tickets for the weekend's events are available at Orscheln Farm and Home, Vanderbilts and the Memorial Union on the FHSU campus.