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Small Ohio rodeo attracts competitors from 4 states
By DOUG GRAVES
Ohio Correspondent

WAYNESVILLE, Ohio — This southwestern Ohio town is most known for its many antiques shops, and its annual sauerkraut festival. But a small horse arena just off State Route 73 is quickly taking over as this village’s main attraction.

At Fox Hollow Stables bull riders from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan converge at this six-acre, Warren County stable for a chance at a $500 prize.

Held the first and third weekend of each month, 60 bull riders and 25 barrel racers compete. Some are veterans hoping to hone their skills.

Many are first-timers, just looking for a thrill. The rodeos are indoors from October through April.

An outside arena is used when the weather is cooperative.

Stable owners and rodeo operators Rod and Teri Frisby started the monthly rodeo four years ago.

“We never advertise ‘cause they know where to find us,” Rod said. “In fact, we need more room.”

Anyone may compete, regardless of his or her talent. The only thing required is the signing of a waiver, which rids the stable of any liability.

“I went to school at Murray State, and I was a member of the rodeo team there,” Rod said.

It goes without saying that his sons, Chris, 20, and Craig, 19, are active in the ring. Both began rodeo competition when they were 14 and 13 respectively. Craig is among the leading jackpot and bull riders in the area while Chris is the bareback bronc leader.

Russ Spreckelmeier rode bulls for 20 years before retiring in 2001. He now entertains the crowd with his public address comments for this local rodeo.

Jarrod Cassley of Amanda attends three or four rodeos per week. He has another job, but this, he says, pays the bills. “I own a horse farm and drive an ice cream truck about 20 hours a week,” he says.

Ken Henson of Johnstown started bull riding three months ago and already has a fractured collarbone to show for his efforts.

Kevin Schwieger is a full-time chaplain with the Lebanon Police Department. However, he competed in rodeo competition for two years before receiving a punctured lung and rib damage from bull riding. His wife put an end to his days in the ring.

Tom Barlow of Cincinnati used to take his family to see the Cincinnati Reds and Cincinnati Bengals, but now they look forward to the rodeo in tiny Waynesville every other weekend.

“There’s nothing like fresh air and a lot of excitement,” said Barlow, who is amazed at the nominal $7 charge. “Hard to believe you can find this kind of entertainment between Dayton and Cincinnati.”

Bull riders hope to last eight seconds on these angry animals. Two judges rank them from one to 50. The cowboy receives from one to 25 points as does the bull. The goal of the rider is to stay on the bull for eight seconds, and each rider hopes the bull gives them the ride of their life to impress the judges.

Published in the August 31, 2005 issue of Farm World.

10/26/2005