2019 Mid-Western Rodeo
Trick rider wows Manawa crowd
By Holly Neumann
The Mid-Western Rodeo was in town July 4-6, marking the 61st anniversary of the greatest show on dirt.
Rain and lightning on Thursday night did not stop people from taking in the rodeo.
“This is a great show,” said Erin Ruthafeur. “We came up here from the Milwaukee area, and we were not going to miss it. Even with the rain, it was amazing.”
Ruthafeur’s favorite part of the show was trick rider Dusti Dickerson, who made her first appearance at the Mid-Western Rodeo.
“I absolutely loved her,” she said. “I want to do what she does, although I doubt that will ever happen. So instead, we came back on Saturday to see her again.”
Tom Hansen agreed with Ruthafeur.
“This was something new this year, and it was a great addition to the show,” he said. “I have been here for the past three years and this was a favorite.”
Dickerson, of St. Peter, Illinois, has been trick riding for 20 years.
She rode barefoot doing such tricks as the full fender drag, one-foot fly-away, liberty stand and even jumped through fire.
“My family has had a rodeo company since I was about 3 years old,” said Dickerson. “I grew up carrying the flags and barrel racing.”
She was also a competitive gymnast.
During a family vacation to Missouri, Dickerson saw Roman riding and trick riding for the first time at a dinner show.
“It was over for me right there,” she said. “I looked at my parents and said this is what I am going to do. They were really supportive, and it took off from there.”
Practice makes perfect
She said countless hours go into perfecting what she does.
“Rain, snow, hot or cold, you have to be out there practicing every day,” she said. “I have been blessed with really great horses, so keeping them in shape is also a lot of the battle.”
Dickerson wants every rodeo she performs in to be the best rodeo the people have ever seen.
“I know what goes into putting on a show,” she said. “The Manawa Rodeo Committee has been planning this all year. This is what you look forward to, so I take that responsibility very seriously.”
She and her brothers own an arena in southern Illinois, where they give clinics on trick riding and bull-riding.
“Getting to pass on our knowledge and share what we do is important to us,” she said. “We are teaching kids what our parents taught us.”
Her message to youth is to work hard and do not let anyone tell them it is a crazy dream.
“It can happen for anyone,” she said. “I come from a town of 350 people where this was unheard of, and here I am traveling all over, doing what I love.”
Dickerson said going to Manawa has been a positive experience.
“Thursday night it rained, and there was lightning. They had to postpone the rodeo for 15 minutes,” she said. “Some people left, but to hear the roar of the crowd that remained was amazing. You just don’t get that anywhere else. Manawa was everything I imagined. It was an honor for me to be here.”