Rival riders form close-knit community outside rodeo’s dirt rings

Rival riders form close-knit community outside rodeo’s dirt rings
Photo by Jonathan Miksanek
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By Danielle Grady and Alan Hovorka

The World’s Toughest Rodeo made its third visit to the Indiana State Fair Monday and Tuesday, drawing an enthusiastic crowd of several thousand to the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand.

Cowboys traveling from across the country competed for a $20,000 grand prize over the two days. They sat upon furiously bucking horses and bulls provided by Three Hills Rodeo, hoping to keep their seat for as long as possible.

Owner Dave Morehead runs seven of nine World’s Toughest Rodeo shows. Dalton Kingery, a 21-year-old cowboy from Iowa, called him a pillar of the industry.

“A lot of the horses in pro rodeo tie back to Dave,” he said. “His breeding lines are just phenomenal.”

Behind the scenes, the cowboys and rodeo hands who make the show happen sat around relaxing, playing cards and enjoying one another’s company.

While they try to best each other every show, it doesn’t affect how they feel about one another, said Logan Corbett, a 25-year-old cowboy from Kentucky.

“Rodeo is pretty close-knit.”

Danielle Grady and Alan Hovorka are writers for BSU Journalism at the Fair, a Ball State University immersive-learning project placing 25 student journalists at the heart of the Midway to tell the weird and wonderful stories of the 2014 Indiana State Fair.