Mutton Bustin is fast, furious and incredibly popular
The Denny brothers, Grant and Wyatt, will compete in the Reno Rodeo on Tuesday and Wednesday in the bareback event. Jim Krajewski
Her customers are some of the fastest rodeo competitors around.
And that’s just to enter the Mutton Bustin event.
Dellice Steadman is astounded at how quickly the event, part of the Reno Rodeo, fills up each year.
People can enter the annual Mutton Bustin, in which kids ages 5-7 ride sheep in the rodeo, starting Feb. 1 each year.
This year, all 80 entries were filled up in the first 2 minutes, 23 seconds. Applications received after the first 80 are put on a waiting list. People enter via the Reno Rodeo website and all entries are time stamped.
Steadman, who has been with Mutton Bustin for 22 years, was an arena girl when Mutton Bustin first came to the Reno Rodeo in 1996. She became the assistant chairman of the event, for seven years, then chairman, a position she has held for seven years.
In the event, a sheep is held still in a small chute while a child is placed on top in a riding position. The sheep is released and usually starts to run in an attempt to get the child off.
The children who can stay on the longest, usually about 8 seconds, win prizes. Boys and girls, ages 5-7, must not weigh more than 65 pounds
This year, winners received certificates for Justin Boots and Resistol hats.
Steadman said it is a good way to introduce children to the rodeo.
She said the rodeo fairgrounds are tilled so much and the ground is so soft that it is like falling on a pillow and that children do not get hurt there. They wear helmets and safety equipment, which is all new this year, thanks to sponsors EZ Storage and Kup Kaffe.
Steadman said 80 slots are reserved for the public, but an additional 40 spots go to sponsors’ and advertisers’ children.
She said it is the second-most popular event at the Reno Rodeo, behind bull riding.
“Kids love it, parents love it. It gives them a taste of being a contestant in the rodeo,” Steadman said. “It’s a thrill. It’s become a tradition.”
Mutton Bustin is held every day of the rodeo, with finals on Friday and Saturday. Winners those days will also receive leather chaps and a gift bag donated by several sponsors.
Steadman said there are 25 sheep on hand at every event, all provided by Wilford Buffington, a rancher in Luning, Nevada.
She said they are larger than Suffolk Sheep.