Joel Anderson's passion for rodeo grew out of a practical need. He was raised on a ranch in North Dakota, where improving his cattle roping skills was a convenience more than a sport.
Now he has passed his love for rodeo activities on. While his favorite event is team roping, Anderson enjoys watching his daughter Austee in barrel racing. She's currently at Southeastern Oklahoma State University on a rodeo scholarship.
The family's shared love of rodeo activities grew into a construction project, and is now the "Rockin' A Arena." The huge facility holds a 125' by 250' indoor rodeo arena, complete with concessions, public seating, and a practice arena. The arena has been finished for less than a year, but they have already hosted team roping and barrel racing events as well as practice nights.
"I think it's been a dream of ours for a long time to have a place to practice year-round. It used to be we would travel three or four hours to practice and realize it really wasn't worth the adventure. So we decided to build one in our backyard," said Joel Anderson.
This weekend the family is hosting their first major rodeo event, one that's close to their hearts.
"I lost my son about a year ago this time and we've got a special day tomorrow, his birthday. He would have been 18." Anderson said.
The Chase Anderson Memorial Rodeo promises a good time for a good cause. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the local chapter of MDA in honor of Chase.
"There's always a little element of danger of course with the rough stock. I think there's a lot of flashy good horses in the barrel racing," Anderson said.
The contractor for the event is Outlaw Rodeo Productions, the same contractor used at the popular Mark Twain Lake Rodeo.
The rodeo is this Friday and Saturday night starting at 7:30pm. Tickets are $12 at the door.