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James Earl Carter, of Monroe City, took the first-place title for the third time in five years at the local rodeo event.

The LaBelle Rodeo Association hosted the Seventieth Annual LaBelle Rodeo on August 21-22. Cowboys and Cowgirls traveled from all over the nation to compete in the bare back riding, saddle driven, dirt stomping, bull bucking event. Spectators filled the bleachers, while others brought their own seats to enjoy the evening show. The crowd cheered for each competitor, while the rodeo clown entertained them by responding with smiles and laughter. Events included bareback and saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding.

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The LaBelle Rodeo started out in true American fashion recognizing all veterans while playing the  National Anthem as spectators stand to salute and  to pray over the rodeo and  riders as well as the country.

Despite all the national competitors, who had traveled far, local bareback bronc rider, James Earl Carter, of Monroe City, was able to take the first-place title for the third time in five years at the local rodeo event. Carter erupted out of the chute on the bucking bronc, displaying his expertise and poise in the sport. Carter hung on for a qualifying score of 75, keeping his spurs over the shoulders of the horse and his free hand from touching the horse, the saddle or himself for 8 seconds. The ride brought spectators to their feet excited for Carter’s bronc riding abilities in the rough stock event.

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Tony Akery, bullrider, formerly of Monroe City awaits his ride during the Annual LaBelle Rodeo held Saturday, Aug. 22.

Bareback riders endure more abuse, suffer more injuries and carry away more long-term damage than all other rodeo cowboys. Carter has suffered several broken hands, has broken his nose several times, obtained an injury to his face, which broke everything from his eyebrows to his chin.

To stay aboard the horse, a bareback rider uses a rigging made of leather and constructed to meet PRCA safety specifications. The rigging, which resembles a suitcase handle on a strap, is placed atop the horse’s withers and secured with a cinch.

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Tony Akery prays after each ride giving thanks.

Bareback riding has been compared to riding a jackhammer with one hand. As the bronc and rider burst from the chute, the rider must have both spurs touching the horse’s shoulders until the horse’s feet hit the ground after the initial move from the chute.  This is called “marking out.”  If the cowboy fails to do this, he is disqualified.

Carter’s wife, Jessie Carter, also entered the arena, competing in the barrel racing event. Showing speed and integrity, Jessie and her horse, KVS, TiptopDefinition, better known as “Tippy,” said Jessie, ran a time of 15.571, but weren’t fast enough to place.

The first LaBelle Rodeo was held in 1950, bringing Northeast Missouri families together for a family, fun filled event for the past seventy years. The rodeo included vendors, food and drinks. After the rodeo, the evening closed with a live band and dancing for adults to enjoy.

Other locals competing in the rodeo were bull riders Augustus Jones, of Monroe City and Tony Akery, formerly of Monroe City, now of West Mansfield, Ohio.