PAOLA — Sporting his red, white and blue United States of America flag shirt, Kage Brown of Paola rode his sheep for the full eight seconds and held on during the Mutton Bustin’ competition.
Brown, 7, turned in a score of 72, winning the 6- and 7-year-old division at the Miami County Fair Rodeo Arena on Thursday, July 25.
Hundreds of people turned out and cheered for the little cowboys and cowgirls as they rode the sheep across the arena, went sideways, upside down and on occasion face-planted into the dirt.
“We just got a new leader folks,” the announcer said after Brown’s score was announced.
Brown would hold off all challengers, taking the title in one of the closest finishes in the history of the Mutton Bustin’ competition at the Miami County Fair.
It was as close as it gets for the top three spots. First, second and third were separated by a total of two points.
Oliver Newton, Paola, 6, was runner-up in the age division by one point with a ride of 71.
Newton was patient on his ride and he needed to be. His sheep started slow and then took off on a sprint. Newton held on and pulled down a great score.
Louis Jackson, Wellsville, 6, had a score of 70 on his ride for third place.
Callie Hart, Paola, 4, showed the boys how it was done in the 4- and 5-year-old division.
Hart had a ride of 75, winning the title and the belt buckle by two points.
Levi Sloan, Wellsville, 4, placed second with a ride of 73.
Cooper Hickman, Paola, 4, was third. He had an eight-second ride for a score of 66.
Fifty-eight riders competed in the annual event, which has become one of the most popular attractions of the Miami County Fair.
Thirty-two riders were in the 6- and 7-year-old division, and 26 participated in the 4- and 5-year-old division.
Everyone competing in the Mutton Bustin’ event received a medal. Trophies were award for first, second and third and the division winners received belt buckles.
Jake Hardwick, Paola, 7, got things started as the first rider in the Mutton Bustin’ competition, going out of the gate on a fast sheep. He held on tight and slipped to the side of the sheep but kept riding.
Dalton Brown, Paola, 7, wore a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles helmet during his performance.
Brayden Mots, Paola, 6, was all ready for the rodeo. He had a masked helmet on and rodeo vest.
Dawson Elliott, Paola, 6, had a sheep that went out slow and then hit a second gear, throwing him back. He was able to stay on top of the sheep, even though he lost his cowboy hat along the way.
Briar Scherman, Paola, 6, went off on the side of her sheep and fell underneath it on her eight-second ride.
Shane Roth, Paola, 6, fell off the side of his sheep and had a rough landing.
Zander Lovig, Paola, 6 drew a sheep that was not much for giving rides. He got kicked off early, but was quick to his feet and looked at his sheep as it ran across the arena.
Race Cutshaw, Louisburg, 6, had a tough go with a spill right out of the gate. Cutshaw received a roaring applause from the crowd for the effort.
Ellee Crawford, Paola, 6, slid and rode the sheep sideways during her performance. She got a score of 65 for her ride. Crawford slipped off the side of her sheep, but was able to hold on sideways and keep her left leg on the sheep’s back. It was one of the more exciting rides of the evening.
The crash of the evening goes to Lincoln Burbank, 6, Wellsville, who fell off the side of the sheep and landed under it. He was drug across the rodeo arena ground for quite a while before finally coming loose. It was one gutsy ride.
Liam White, Stillwell, 6, wore a motorcycle-style helmet for his Mutton Bustin’ ride.
Walker Sage, Richmond, 6, had a crazy and wild ride. Sage was flipped over the front of the sheep at the end of the ride.
Darby Brake, Blue Mound, 7, wore a red softball helmet during her ride. She had a heck of a run, turning in a score of 69, just one point away from being in the top three.
Harper Sterk, Paola, 6, had a rough ride for eight seconds. He fell underneath the sheep and was being drug on the rodeo dirt, but the cowboy dusted off and got right back up to cheers from the hometown crowd. Sterk finished with a score of 68.
Auston Huff, La Cygne, 6, got knocked off his sheep right in front of the gate on a real tough go for the cowboy.
Deisel Rush, Paola, 5, had a big spill at the end of his ride. Rush was another one of the tough cowboys and cowgirls putting on a show for the Mutton Bustin’ fans.
Miles Ford, Parker, 5, had a busy day. Not only did he compete in the bucket calf competition at the fair earlier in the day, Ford was the grand champion. He kept his cowboy hat on and rode in the Mutton Bustin’ event for the full fair experience.
McKade Chadwick, Paola, 4, wore a Spiderman helmet for his ride in the event.
There was a roar from the arena when Sylus Miller had his name announced. Miller, Fontana, 5, brought some fans to the show.
“He had a big cheering section in the crowd here tonight,” the announcer said.
Mason Roth, Paola, 4, was an action hero on his ride, wearing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles helmet.
Jace Slyter, Paola, 4, may have had to take a second look at his sheep for the event. Slyter was on a sheep that was shaved except for the hair on the front and all the way down the neck.
“Is that a sheep or a tiger?” asked the announcer. “What kind of a trimming job is that?”
Aria Walker, Paola, 4, was ready for the Wonderful World of Disney during her ride, showing off her Minnie Mouse helmet.
Corbin “Bubba Ray” Clearwater, Osawatomie, 5, put on a show and showed his competitiveness during the Mutton Bustin’ event. Clearwater rode the sheep, went sideways, but held on for one heck of a ride.
Competing in the 4- and 5-year-old division at the Mutton Bustin’ competition were: Alex Hardwick, Paola, 4; Braelynn Reed, Louisburg, 5; Deisel Rush, Paola, 5; Blake Elmore, Paola, 5; Miles Ford, Parker, 5; Cooper Hickman, Paola, 5; McKade Chadwick, Paola, 4; Sylus Miller, Fontana, 4; Callie Hart, Paola, 4; Mason Roth, Paola, 4; Wayland Bonecutter, Paola 4; Jace Slyter, Paola, 4;
Keith Crawford, Paola, 4; Owen Swisher, Paola, 4; Eden Burbank, Wellsville, 4; Aria Walker, Paola, 4; Banks Gracy, Shawnee, 5; Levi Sloan, Wellsville, 4; Beckett Kurte, Paola, 5; Corbin Clearwater, Osawatomie, 5; Elouise Commons, Louisburg, 4; Calin Niebaum, Louisburg, 4; Denns Harris, LaCygne, 4; Allen Brewer, Paola, 5; Mark Mermis, Louisburg, 5; and Waylon Baska, Wellsville 5.
Cowboys and cowgirls riding in the 6- and 7-year-old division were Jake Hardwick, Paola, 7; Dalton Brown, Paola, 7; Brayden Mots, Paola, 6; Race Cutshaw, Louisburg, 6; Oliver Newton, Paola, 6; Dawson Elliott, Paola, 7; Cade Hensley, Paola, 6; Briar Scherman, Paola, 6; Shane Roth, Paola, 6; Zander Lovig, Paola, 6; Scarlett Gatlin, Paola, 7; Angus Rush, Gardner, 6; Ellee Crawford, Paola, 6; Lincoln Burbank, Wellsville, 6; Lia White, Stillwell, 6; Mason Rockers, Greeley, 6; Kelly Deason, Olathe, 6; Ranzly Badders, Osawatomie, 7; Avery Land, Louisburg, 7; Walker Sage, Richmond, 6; Kage Brown, Paola, 7; Lane Wright, Ottawa, 6; Louis Jackson, Wellsville, 6; Dakota Niebaum, Louisburg, 6; Harper Sterk, Paola, 6; Darby Brake, Blue Mound, 7; William Parsons, Blue Mound, 7; Honir Rose Ybarra, Olathe, 6; Austin Huff, La Cygne, 6; Emma Parsons, Blue Mound, 6; John Mermis, Louisburg, 7; and Max Waters, Overland Park, 6.