On Saturday March 1 and Sunday, March 2, Crossroads USA Arena and Expo will host the 2008 Cloverdale Invitational Rodeo as its first major event. There will be bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling; the works, and all the contestants will be high school-age youth.
Members of the Indiana High School Rodeo Association (IHSRA) will compete against an Ohio team to win points toward qualification for this year's nationals in Farmington, N.M. The rodeo season runs from March through October with events all over the United States and even in Canada.
High school rodeo is a family affair. Almost every weekend is a camping trip for rodeo parents, their children and horses that share the same goals and the same trailer.
"I see my friends on weekends," said Carlee Dittemore of Lebanon, who competes in barrel racing, pole bending, and goat tie. "On Sundays, there's even a cowboy church," she said.
Colleges all over America, from Tennessee to Idaho, offer rodeo scholarships, and Indiana students have as good a chance as any to win them.
"Just because we're on the east side of the Mississippi doesn't mean we can't rope," said Branda Street of Bloomington who competes in team roping as well as other events.
Representatives of the High School Rodeo Association are happy to be coming to Cloverdale's Crossroads USA.
"Five acres under roof and with heat," said Jana Dittemore, one of the organizers. "It will be great!"
In addition to the arena, the facility has open areas for stalls, bleachers and venders. There is parking for 1000 cars and spaces with water and electricity for 200 campers.
"The arena is the most underrated part of the building," Crossroads executive Steve Jackson explained, "but the dirt takes a lot of work."
"It's nice having the first show a high school rodeo," Jackson said.
Rodeo events begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and younger.