By Will Ravenstein, Fort Riley Public AffairsNovember 2, 2018
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- The Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association held their World Championship Rodeo Oct. 25 through 27 at the Domer Livestock Arena at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kansas.
This is the second-straight year PAFRA has hosted the championship in Topeka, with U.S. Army Fort Riley Garrison Commander Col. Stephen Shrader welcoming the participants and spectators.
"It's truly a great honor," Shrader said. "On behalf of Fort Riley, I can't tell you how happy I am that this event has returned to our home state for the second year."
The Professional Armed Forces Rodeo Association is an organization that supports the veteran community by providing an outlet to come together through a shared love of the sport of rodeo, Shrader said.
"Having the opportunity to participate in such an organization is an invaluable experience for our veterans, not only because they get to do what they love, but also because it provides an opportunity to build a sense of community between individuals with shared values, interests and experiences," Shrader said.
After Shrader's welcome, the Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard entered the arena to present the colors. The rodeo participants then entered representing their respective branches.
Army veteran and Spencer, Oklahoma, native Lonnie Guyton, PAFRA vice president and bull rider said he was thrilled to be back in Topeka.
"It's awesome, last year on the first night it didn't go so well," he said. "But they stuck with us, welcomed us with open arms and we couldn't have asked for a better deal."
Guyton served at Fort Riley from 2008 to 2009 and is proud of the partnership established between PAFRA and the installation.
"The 'Big Red One' is home to me," he said.
Both Shrader and Guyton spoke on the history of Fort Riley, the CGMCG and rodeos.
"The Fort Riley community also has pride in our traditions and historical ties to this way of life as the historic the home of the Cavalry, and as the location of the U.S. Cavalry School, which trained America's Army on tactical cavalry horses for 60 years," Shrader said. "So, thank you for letting us and the 1st Infantry Division Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard join in to share our collective history together and be a part of this amazing event."
Guyton said the PAFRA World Championship featured many of the events seen at standard rodeos to include: steer roping, calf wrestling, bareback riding and bull riding. The contest also featured two other events; the cowboy mounted shooting and chute dogging.
"They come out of the bucking chutes and try to wrestle down a 600- to 800-pound steer," Guyton said as he explained chute dogging.
Shrader closed his remarks by wishing each of the competitors well and a safe time while in Topeka.
"I can't wait to see our veterans and our service men and women compete over the next few days at sports for which they have such passion," he said. "Every time our Soldiers get a chance to show their skills, display their talents and take part in something they love, we take pride in standing beside them and offering our support and encouragement."