By STEPHANIE BUNKER
Moapa Valley Progress
The Mutton Bustin’ event at the Clark County Fair drew people from many states to participate last week. They came from California, Utah, Arizona, and Las Vegas. A total of 111 boys and girls between ages 4-7 and under 60 lbs signed up to take the wild ride.
Every participant receives a T-shirt and $5 for pay out in the contest. But those in the top 5 receive a portion of the purse.
A whole team of local people assist Mutton Bustin’ director Stuart Riggins in putting on this big show. Justin Barlow is the Stock Contractor for the event. He leases the sheep from Utah and brings them to the warmer temperatures in southern Nevada. Zach Johnson made the crowd and contestants feel welcome as he announced and made jokes. Doug Brady is the arena manager; he opens the chute to let the mutton out and keeps the kids spirits high as they fall off the sheep. Gail Lindsey helps out as the arena secretary.
A lot of the kids are nervous about getting on the sheep. As soon as Brady opens the chute, the sheep leaps out and charges down to the end of the arena. Some kids fall off right away and some hold on a little longer.
To make a qualified ride the contestant has to stay on for a full 6 seconds. But everyone still gets a score to go toward their average. The kids are scored on how long and how well they ride the sheep. The contestants with the best aggregate score win a beautiful belt buckle made by Tres Rios worth $100.
Brady Del Torro age 4 competed in the event on Wednesday. According to relatives, Del Torro has been waiting for a whole year to do this. His uncle Derek Brady got him his own sheep to practice on throughout the year. “He has been so excited, he run around saying, ‘I’m going to ride a wild sheep!’,
said Donna Brady.
Little Brady Del Torro didn’t stay on as long as he hoped. But he still got that wild ride.
This is the 11th year that Mutton Bustin’ has been held at the Clark County Fair, and it continues to be a popular event. It started out with just one shoot in a small arena with a ticket booth where they would do all their paperwork. Now the staff has an air conditioned trailer to work out of; which made it nice for the volunteers to get out of the hot sun or wind.
The sponsors really help the event run smoothly by providing funds. A special thanks to Lin’s Marketplace, Mesa View, CWR Championships, The Springs Preserve, Washington Federal and Southern Nevada Water Authority who were sponsors for the event.