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A bounty of activities are planned for the Armada Fair Aug. 15-21

The Macomb Daily logo The Macomb Daily 8/9/2022 Gina Joseph, The Macomb Daily, Mount Clemens, Mich.

Aug. 9—Concerts featuring musicians like Aaron Lewis and the Stateliners.

Monster trucks and a demolition derby.

Tractor and truck pulls.

Candy apples, popcorn and a carnival.

Horses, roosters, rabbits and even a Lego display and candy scramble.

Folks aren't kidding when they say there's something for everyone at the Armada Fair going on Aug. 15-21.

"We'll be there," said Cathy Johnson of Paris, Michigan and the co-owner of Super Kicker Rodeo. "We have a show tonight in Harrison and tomorrow night we're in Mt. Pleasant for the Isabella County Fair."

By "we" she means her family including her husband and the rodeo's announcer Joe Johnson, their two sons and a team of men and women dedicated to their sport and determined to put on a good show.

"They've been wonderful," said Mary Straubel, who is the office manager for the Armada Fair and remembers how impressed she and other members of the organizing committee were when they saw the Super Kicker Rodeo for the first time. "We went to a fair convention and these guys were there. "We knew they would be a good family draw."

They were right.

"It's been wonderful. We couldn't ask for a better show," Straubel said, of the rodeo event that gives local cowboys and cowgirls a chance to compete in an equestrian sport that has been around since the 1800s.

Some say it started in Colorado.

Two groups of cowboys from neighboring ranches met to settle an argument about who was the best at performing everyday cowboy tasks including breaking wild horses — which are used for ranch work like herding cattle or chasing down a steer. In some parts of the country local cowboys would invite friends or even members of a local indigenous tribe to join in the competitions that evolved into rodeo events like saddle bronc and bull riding, steer wrestling and barrel racing.

"I was raised in the rodeo industry," said Cathy, who started out as a little buckeroo working for her dad, who founded the rodeo business she and Joe operate with their sons, who are now adults and have little buckaroos of their own. "We branched out from dad and have been running it ever since."

She was also a barrel racer.

Barrel racing is just that — a race against time in a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels set up in the arena.

"The object for the rider is to race their horse around the barrels without tipping them," said Liz Brockert of Armada and among the women who compete in the event. "I remember my first barrel racing event. I was maybe 10 or 11 years old and I was on an old baseball horse," she said, referring to a nickname given to a horse that's fun to ride but usually not very competitive. "We had her forever," added Brockert, who has also competed in team roping. "She was older and nobody expected anything but we won first place. It set a fire in me and I've been barrel racing ever since."

Brockert insists it is also an exciting event to watch, because of the horse's speed and the rider's ability to keep it in control and on the track.

Cathay concurred.

"I used to run barrels," she said, noting that it was a natural progression living on a ranch.

Aside from the action there's the cowgirls themselves, who are motivated by the cheers they hear in the stands from parents, siblings and neighbors. They are local girls who grew up on farms and ranches nearby just as many of the cowboys are local ranchers who want to show off their skills or have decided to make it a career.

As for running the Super Kicker Rodeo?

"I never thought in a million years I would be doing this," she said.

However, once she and Joe got involved with the rodeo because of their son's interest their involvement just grew. Joe started doing the announcing and Cathy got involved with the judging.

"It just took on a life of its own," she said, noting that once she heard Joe speaking to the crowd about the rodeo, America and his faith in God and country she also knew in her heart this was what they were meant to do.

"It's like a mission," she said. "My goal is for a family to come out and see the show and be entertained for two hours."

FYI

What also makes this year's fair special is the fact that it's been a gathering of cowboys, cowgirls, friends, family and neighbors since 1872.

In honor of the 150 year milestone and to celebrate Armada Fair organizers have planned a parade at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14.

Monday marks the start of the fair with gates opening at 8 a.m.

Those attending the fair will find a variety of activities going on in the morning including 4-H events and competitions among area youth.

At 12 p.m. the refreshment tent opens offering visitors a variety of food including dinners, snacks and all of the treats you might imagine at a fair.

The carnival opens at 4 p.m.

Daily passes are $30 but tickets can also be purchased for individual rides.

Opening night of the fair will feature the music of Aaron Lewis and The Stateliners. The concert starts at 8:30 p.m. but the grandstands will be open starting at 7 p.m. Seating for the grandstands is free with paid admission to the fair.

Cost for admission is $10 plus $5 for parking. Children ages 10-12 are $5. Kids under the age of 9 are free.

The Armada Fair grounds are at 74280 Fair St., in Armada.

For more information and a schedule of events visit armadafair.org

(c)2022 The Macomb Daily, Mount Clemens, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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