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Phillipsburg residents ready to rodeo





The 85th annual Kansas' Biggest Rodeo will be in Phillipsburg from Thursday to Saturday.

The event earned its name in the 1930s when a railroad company hyped the festivities because it offered trips to Phillipsburg. Travel on the rails has fallen, but the weekend's popularity has surged during the rodeo's eight decades.

Ruth Nicolaus, the rodeo's publicist, said the surrounding community rallies around the  tradition and the 15,000 weekend visitors.

"People in Phillipsburg and Phillips County love their rodeo," Nicolaus said. "They know they are showcasing their town when people come to town for this rodeo."

The three-day event features ranked world-class rodeo professionals competing in seven events. Bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, tie down roping, team roping, steer rustling, barrel racing and bull riding are the different categories. Children can become little cowboys and cowgirls and ride sheep in the mutton busting program.

The rodeo is compelling because of its unpredictable nature, Nicolaus said.

"Any night is good watching because anytime you've got a 1,500-pound horse or a 2,000-pound bull, you know what you want them to do, but they may not do what you want them to do," she said.

Live music from the Country Highway band and dancing will be Friday and Saturday. There will be food vendors, and a parade will march downtown at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Attendees can help donate to a nonprofit Thursday. If they wear pink, organizers will donate $1 to the American Cancer Society, and sponsors will match it. Approximately $10,000 has been raised since the collection began in 2006.

For more information about events and tickets, visit www.kansasbiggestrodeo.com.