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Biggest Rodeo returns to P-burg

Special to The Hays Daily News

PHILLIPSBURG -- An annual tradition returns to Phillipsburg in August.

Kansas Biggest Rodeo will be Aug. 1 to 3 north of town at the rodeo grounds.

The event, which has taken place since 1929, attracts approximately 15,000 people to town during its three-day run, said Phillipsburg resident Mike Erhart. "It's a time to get together and to enjoy each other. It's a big family event, and a big boost for our economy."

New to the rodeo this year are its clown and specialty act. Justin Rumford, Ponca City, Okla., will be rodeo clown and barrelman, and is no stranger to Phillipsburg. He competed there in high school and drove truck for stock contractor Bennie Beutler for a few years before becoming a rodeo clown.

"He's very entertaining," said Rod Innes, rodeo chairman. "He's really found his calling as a rodeo clown."

Phillipsburg fans were first introduced to Rumford, the 2012 PRCA Clown of the Year, during a downpour at the rodeo in 2009.

"He took the microphone with Randy Corley and was really funny, and that's when we had an idea that he would be great to hire as a clown," Innes said. "He's the hottest barrelman out there right now. He's working rodeos across the country. We were fortunate to be able to book him this year."

Specialty act is Kenny Petet's chuckwagon races, Stephenville, Texas. Chuckwagon races are hard to come by, Innes said, and fans enjoy them.

"People love the speed, and the competition in a small arena like Phillipsburg is good entertainment," he said. "We were fortunate enough to run across Petet in Las Vegas."

"When we get into summer, everybody starts talking rodeo," said Erhart, CEO of Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy. "It's a big thing for us. We have rodeo old-timers (in town), and they'll tell you about the old days. The passion they have gets me all excited and giddy about it."

Tickets go on sale Monday at Heritage Insurance in Phillipsburg. Reserved ticket prices are $15 for adults and $11 for children age 3 to 12. General admission ticket prices are $13 for adults and $10 for children.

Tickets can be purchased via phone at (785) 543-2448 with a major credit card or in person at the store at 685 Third St.

For more information, visit KansasBiggestRodeo.com.