Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo rides into town

2015 Team Calf Ropers are competing in the All American Pro Rodeo Finals. Photo Credit: Sarah Pyo

By Ben Woolley | Reporter

Waco’s annual Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo is quickly approaching. Events including live music, bull riding, mutton bustin’ and roping will take place Thursday through Oct. 15 at the Extraco Events Center.

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The crowd favorite of the 2015 rodeo is Mutton Bustin’. Children from the age of four to seven, that weigh 55 pounds or less can participate. Photo Credit: Sarah Pyo

A six-night concert series will entertain fans with performances from Mark Chesnutt, Sam Riggs, Jon Wolfe, Roger Creager, Tracy Byrd and Kevin Fowler. Each of the performers has established himself in the Texas country music world.

“I look forward to the music every year,” Houston senior Harrison Hanna said. “There are always big-name artists that I love to listen to.”

This year, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo will host the All American ProRodeo Series Finals.

“Contestants will earn a point for every dollar won at the series events, and 50 bonus points are awarded for each series rodeo competed in. The top 30 contestants in each event will compete for more than $500,000 in prize money at the championship event held Saturday and Sunday and Oct. 11-15,” the Heart of Texas website said.

Rodeo events will include saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, bareback riding, barrel racing, tie-down roping and bull riding, along with the calf scramble and mutton bustin’ for children ages 4 to 7 weighing 55 pounds or less.

Other events include a livestock show, creative arts and an academic rodeo where kids from first grade to 12th grade have something to compete in, whether it is a spelling bee, math bee or creative contests. Contestants are eligible to receive cash prices at all ages along with scholarships if they are in high school. The Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo website says the organizers’ hope is that the academic rodeo will bring in a crowd that normally wouldn’t attend the Fair and Rodeo.

“The Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo provides attractions for everyone: rodeo lovers, concert goers, foodies, carnival ride enthusiasts; there’s something for everyone,” said Heart of Texas volunteer Falon Coleman. “The 10 days of the Fair and Rodeo brings community members together to celebrate the beginning of the fall season, to celebrate Waco and that good ol’ country lifestyle.”

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Smoked, tender turkey legs were available for sale from Wiggen Concessions during the 2015 HOT Fair and Rodeo. Photo Credit: Sarah Pyo

The Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo is a non profit organization. It operates year-round alongside over 500 active volunteers, fulfilling Heart O’ Texas’ mission to produce events for education, entertainment and agricultural experiences at the premier, multi use facility while giving back through providing youth scholarships and a positive economic impact to Central Texas.

In the past 63 years, the Fair and Rodeo has offered Central Texas a place to support the community while enjoying sights, sounds and smells that make the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo what it is. The fair is held annually at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, which brings in an economic impact of over $47 million each year, according to the Heart Of Texas website.