A Harvey County Fair tradition will come out of the chutes Friday and Saturday night — the Saddle Club Rodeo.
This year, however, there will be something different in the arena — a horse drill team will perform during the rodeo.
They are called the Rockin' H Drill team, and they hail from Haysville. The all-female team is in the first year of performing.
"They have precise, coordinated routines where the horses have to work together to stay in formation," said Sharon Matz, spokeswoman for the Newton Saddle Club. "They practice for countless hours. Their horses all have to get along because they are all close to each other. It is timed to music, and they have to know their timing. ... It takes a lot of time, effort, practice and patience to get the horses to do what they are supposed to do consistently. [Horses] have a mind of their own."
The team has, in the past, offered rides for kids outside the arena and done autograph sessions. The team has also hidden painted rocks throughout Newton, finding one and posting to social media will win the finder a prize.
"They are a real friendly group of girls that get out in the crowd," Matz said. "I think it is a good addition to the rodeo."
Friday and Saturday is when traditional rodeo gets into the Newton Saddle Club Arena, 701 W. First, with a Central Plains Rodeo Association event starting at 8 p.m. each night. Events in the series include bareback riding, saddle bronc, team roping, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding.
"Athletes will come from all around Kansas, and few from other states, as well," Matz said. "They are professionals. ... Rodeo contestants put every ounce of their heart into each of their rodeo performances."
The Central Plains Rodeo Association sanctions rodeos throughout the region, including in Marquette, McPherson, Newton, Salina and Emporia.
Competitors can qualify for the Central Plains Rodeo finals, which will be from Oct. 4-6 in Hutchinson — that is if they can place well throughout the season.
"Animals have a mind of their own and they will do what they want," Matz said. "You can't tell a 2,000-pound bull what to do. .. The animals are important to the competitors. Without those animals, these athletes can not compete. They want to take care of these animals and do them justice."
Admission for the rodeo is $8 for adults, $3 for kids 6 through 12 and free for ages 5 and under each night.