KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hale Arena in Kansas City, Missouri’s West Bottoms is the center of the agricultural world this week as the American Royal professional and youth rodeos take center stage.
The youth rodeo ends Wednesday, and professionals step into the shoots Thursday through Saturday.
Performances begin at 7:30 each night. Tickets are priced at $20 for general admission, $50 for reserved seating and $75 for a VIP experience. Parking costs $15 during the pro rodeo. A band will play a free concert after the rodeo each night. All events take place at Hale Arena, 1701 American Royal Court.
During youth rodeo earlier in the week, 15-year-old twins Ayden and Austin Bebout from Peculiar, Missouri, competed in several events.
“Competing with him [Ayden] is fun and all our friends, it’s pretty cool,” Austin said.
Both teens have aspirations of one day riding in the pro rodeo. They said hard work is the secret to success.
“It takes a lot. You really gotta try hard. It’s like an everyday kind of thing,” Ayden explained.
While the bull riders and barrel racers get the spotlight, this week gives the American Royal a chance to live out its educational mission behind the scenes.
Hundreds of elementary students from around the region will attend field trips to the Royal complex and attend the youth rodeo as an introduction to the agricultural industry.
This is the first time since 2019 that field trips were able to happen in person because of COVID-19 restrictions in place during 2020 and 2021.
The goal is to show students where their food, fuel and fiber come from.
The American Royal also provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in college scholarships through various initiatives.
Dalton Morris remembers going on field trips as a student from Odessa, Missouri. He said the experiences helped cement his path to becoming a professional rodeo clown.
“I’m basically the hype man of the rodeo,” he explained his role during the rodeo.
Morris now speaks with students visiting the Royal complex. He uses bullwhips and lassos to teach them about trust, respect and practice; highlighting how lessons of the agricultural world apply to school and day-to-day life.
“That’s what we talk about with our school tours is to practice, to study, to be your best. Once we practice enough, we achieve what we’re talking about,” Morris said while using a bullwhip to knock a piece of Styrofoam out of the hand of a reporter.
Tickets to the rodeo are available online by visiting the American Royal’s website.