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The 97th annual Reno Rodeo rides back into Reno to capture the hearts of visitors and locals. This year’s rodeo, running June 16-25, will feature events ranging from a cattle drive to an extreme mustang makeover, a redneck truck show, carnival, barrel racing, parade and much more.

“So many people work extremely hard all year to put on the Reno Rodeo,” said Eva Werschky, reigning Queen and 2016 Miss Reno Rodeo. “It is pretty amazing to see all that hard work come to fruition as the ‘Wildest, Richest, Rodeo in the West.’”

The rodeo, sponsored by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, also includes competitive cowboy events such as team roping, steer wresting, bull riding, bareback and more, but there are plenty of opportunities to have fun.

“There’s nothing like being outside at the rodeo grounds on a warm summer evening in June,” said Bill Price, past president and chair of the rodeo’s marketing, advertising and public relations committee. “From the mountains to the east highlighted by the sun, to the spectacular sunsets to the west, when you toss in the rodeo there’s a whole feeling that can only happen here in Reno. The sounds of rodeo and the smells of popcorn and cotton candy create an air of excitement.”

Kick-off concert

Kicking off this year’s rodeo is Grammy-nominated Billy Currington, who will headline a K-Bull 98.1 FM concert in the Outdoor Rodeo Arena at the Reno Livestock Events Center on June 15.

Currington, who has had nine No. 1 career singles, including “People Are Crazy,” “Good Directions,” and “That’s How Country Boys Roll” also shares the evening with Canaan Smith and “The Voice” season’s four Rudy Parris. Tickets can be purchased through kbul.com, at the Lawlor Box Office, 1664 N. Virginia St., or on the day of the event on rodeo grounds.

Extreme Mustang Makeover, more

Every year, the Reno Rodeo hosts special events, with some of the hot ones this year including the extreme mustang makeover, drill team competition and the cattle drive. The extreme mustang makeover, which made its first appearance In 2015, still remains fairly new to the rodeo circuit and promises lots of fun.

“One hundred days prior to the rodeo, horse trainers from all over the West Coast pick up their wild mustangs to start training,” Price said. “The trainers have that time to convert these animals to working animals. After the 100 days of training are completed, the horses are brought back to Reno to participate in a one-day horsemanship contest. The following day the animals are auctioned at an adoption event.”

The cattle drive starts on June 12 in Doyle, Calif., and gives participants an opportunity to help deliver more than 300 steer to the rodeo grounds. They arrive in Reno right before noon June 16 with the best viewing spot for the drive at the corner of Oddie Boulevard and Sutro Street. While the cattle drive can be a unique Western event to catch, there are plenty of draws to the Reno Rodeo, regardless of whether visitors are true rodeo followers or not.

“First, we have all of the top PRCA cowboys competing here, plus some of the best stock in the country,” Price said. “So, for the rodeo fan, they get to see the best of the best. For the nonrodeo fan, it’s often just the opportunity to be outside on a warm summer evening in Reno enjoying the excitement of the rodeo. Some come back just to experience the Western lifestyle.”

Carnival, parade for families

The Reno Rodeo carnival opens at 4 p.m. June 16 at the fairgrounds and a PRCA Xtreme Bulls Tour is scheduled for 7 p.m. that evening. June 17 is host to numerous events ranging from a championship drill team competition to pre-rodeo activities in the outdoor arena. On June 18, the Reno Rodeo Parade is scheduled to start on Virginia Street at 10 a.m. That Saturday also is chock full of other events including the second PRCA pro-rodeo performance, redneck truck show and extreme mustang makeover.

“I love it all, but I am so excited for the Reno Rodeo Parade,” Werschky said. “It is moving to Midtown this year, so the parade gets to travel right through the heart of Reno. It’s definitely a must-see event.”

Tickets for the Reno Rodeo vary in price, but can be ordered by phone at 800-325-7328. There also are discounts available to military members, senior citizens and children younger than 12. Also, themed nights help create more excitement at the rodeo, some of which include Nevada Wolf Pack Night on June 22 and Pink Night on June 24 to raise awareness of breast cancer.

Other family events include the Special Kids’ Rodeo on June 19, giving children and adults with mental and physical challenges the opportunity to ride a mechanical bull, rope steer dummies and more. For children, there also is junior roping and mutton bustin’, which offers a rodeo ride on a sheep.

“The crowd goes wild when we get a great ride by one of the cowboys, but the loudest cheers are when a 7- or 8-year-old hangs on and manages to stay on sheep during the mutton bustin,’” Price said.

Visit the Reno Rodeo website for a full schedule of events at the rodeo, news, directions and more.

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