The rain has stopped but our most recent storms continue to effect the valley. Standing water and flooding have caused nightmares for many. Now, the wet weather is responsible for the move of a major competition in Palestine, Illinois.
Flooding has forced the Illinois High School Rodeo Association to relocate an up-coming rodeo to a “drier” part of the state, and that leaves students learning a tough life lesson.
As you drive into Newton, Illinois the town has signs showing how proud they are of their rodeo kids, including Stetson Bierman, the 2017 high school rodeo state champion
“I’ve had sponsors from around this whole county and community donate and help me get through to nationals even. I had plenty people just even stop by and say good job,” said Bierman.
“It’s great to have the community and their support behind us,” said Lane Higgs.
The riders in Jasper County were excited to show off their skills to the community at the Pioneer City Arena in Palestine, Competing in the Illinois High School Central Division Rodeo, but mother nature had other plans, flooding the arena and grounds.
The arena pen is muddy but part of the facility closest to the Wabash River is under several feet of water.
“I’m kind of bummed that it’s canceled because it’s kind of a big deal like all of your support from your community can finally come to one close at home,” said Lauren Higgs.
The student athletes compete against each other hoping to gain enough points to qualify for state and ultimately nationals but by competing in the sport they learn life skills.
‘It teaches you that you don’t have to be rivals with your competitors you can be nice to them and help them and still come out on top sometimes. Sometimes you don’t its life and things happen,” said Monica Buerster.
Those skills are on full display as the organization leads by example. The event will be held, but the students and fans will have to travel almost three hours to the Du Quoin Fairgrounds.
“Yeah Palestine is the closest one so I wanted to make it but I still get a ride so I guess it’s all right,” said Preston Schaffer.
Promoters are working to schedule another high school rodeo in Palestine this October.