UNIONTOWN -- Area youth are preparing to saddle up for the fifth annual Uniontown FFA Youth Ranch Rodeo, set for 2 p.m. Sunday at the Uniontown Saddle Club Arena.
The educational event, sponsored by the Uniontown FFA chapter, is meant to give kids a chance to have fun and gain experience working and competing with horses and other rodeo animals.
Open to all youngsters interested in the equine recreational field, the rodeo also serves as organizational practice for youth involved in the Uniontown FFA chapter.
Participants will take part in several events that are typically part of everyday life on a horse ranch.
The event will include several teams consisting of students from high schools in Southeast Kansas, including Uniontown High School, with three participants per team. Participants compete in a variety of rodeo events to gain valuable experience and also for a chance to win various prizes.
"It is a fun and learning experience for all ages in high school and under," rodeo committee co-chairman Brenton Esslinger said in a news release. "Every year we put it on there have been more and more individuals involved with either donating or competing.
"We also really appreciate local people who donate stock, serve as judges and help with the show. We hope people realize that this is one of our favorite FFA chapter activities and hope many teams will come and have fun with us," Esslinger said.
Those taking part do not have to be FFA members, but must be high school age or younger, Esslinger said.
"I am a team roper (at) heart, but it is fun to go to a ranch rodeo and do more than just team roping," Esslinger said. "You learn to do more off your horse and work together as a team with other people. It's an awesome experience."
Registration begins at 1 p.m. Sunday. Events will include cattle penning, calf branding, steer mugging, ribbon roping and a saddle up race.
Prizes will be awarded to the top three teams with the top team receiving trophy buckles, the release said.
Entry fee is $25 per contestant and each one will receive a free T-shirt. Admission to the show will be a free will donation.
Uniontown High School FFA instructor Kevin Gleason said he encourages contestants to pre-register by Friday so there will be enough stock available for the show. Esslinger can be reached at (620) 215-3788 and rodeo committee co-chairman C.J. Stiffler at 363-2380.
"I am anxious to compete this year since I just moved to Uniontown," Stiffler said. "I've been around ranch rodeos, but not gotten to compete before."
Gleason said the backup location for the show in the event of rain will be the indoor arena at Fort Scott Community College.
A majority of the Uniontown FFA chapter will compete in the rodeo or assist with other aspects of the event.
The Uniontown Saddle Club Arena is located just west of Uniontown on Kansas Highway 3.