A LOVE FOR RODEO
Hastings, Neb. – Dwight Dunsworth loves rodeo.
He loves it so much, he not only sponsors it (through the Nebraska High School Finals Rodeo) but he volunteers at it.
The Hastings man has given of his time every year at the high school finals since it came to the Adams County Fairgrounds in 2005. He, along with several dozen other volunteers, spends most of four days at the fairgrounds, making sure things run smoothly and doing the hundreds of little tasks required to put on a rodeo for over 100 kids.
This year’s high school finals will be held June 14-16 with performances at 10 am and 6 pm on June 14-15 and the short round at 1 pm on June 16. During the rodeos, Dunsworth is usually on the south end of the arena, at the timed event box, where the ropers and steer wrestlers are, helping move calves and steers from the back pens to the alleyway, and making sure the correct animal is ready for each run.
But he’s worked on the rodeo before the days of the event. He, along with others, meets monthly to make plans, and he secures sponsors as well. He also gets the semi-trailer that sits on the far side of the arena, on which sponsor banners are hung. Like the other volunteers at the rodeo, he pitches in to help wherever it’s needed.
Dunsworth loves it, although it’s a lot of time and effort. “I don’t think the fans realize how much work it is to put on a rodeo,” he said.
As co-owner of Bernard Pavelka Trucking, he sponsors the rodeo because he believes in it. “It’s a great event for our community,” he said, “as far as bringing people to town and the money they spend when they come.”
He loves the western heritage and western tradition that rodeo represents, even though he never had the chance to compete. Both of his grandfathers were farmers and ranchers. He rode horses, but never his own. “I didn’t have a horse of my own.”
Dunsworth was born in Oklahoma and moved with his family to Clay County when he was six years old. He grew up in Harvard. He has horses and has been in charge of the parade committee for the Hastings pro rodeo, the Oregon Trail Rodeo, since 2005.
Watching the high school kids compete in Hastings is something he enjoys. He also enjoys the feeling of teamwork that comes with hosting an event for the kids, “the team effort of planning, producing, and making things run as smoothly as possible.”
The Nebraska High School Finals Rodeo will be held in Hastings at the Adams Co. Fairgrounds June 14-16. Tickets are $7 for everyone ages five and up and are available through the office and at the gate. For more information, visit AdamsCountyFairgrounds.com or hsrodeo-nebraska.com, or call 402.462.3247.