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NDRA rides into Watford

Posted 9/08/10 (Wed)

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

It’s been named one of the nation’s top 100 events and it’s happening right here in Watford City.
McKenzie County residents are in for a special treat when the NDRA Championship Rodeo rides into Watford City on Sept. 10 and 11 with nightly performances at 7 p.m. at the McKenzie County Multi-Purpose Building. You may think if you’ve seen one rodeo, you’ve seen them all. But this isn’t just another rodeo. It’s the best of the best competing to see who will be crowned the 2010 NDRA Champion.
Even if you’re not a big rodeo fan, you won’t want to miss the local cowboys and cowgirls as they head into their last ride before the champions are announced.
The NDRA Championship Rodeo is nothing new for Allene and Louis Nelson, but that doesn’t take away any of the excitement they feel going into the weekend. The couple, along with their son, spend their days working with their horses at their Grassy Butte ranch, meeting up with their rodeo family on the weekends. Allene is a barrel racer and Louis is a team roping header. Both are heading into the NDRA Championship Rodeo in second place.
“We both come from families with rodeo backgrounds,” says Allene. “My mom’s family raised rodeo stock and my dad’s family rodeoed and Louis’s family also rodeoed. His dad, Alvin, is even in the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame for Saddle Bronc Riding. It just seems natural that this is what we do.”
It takes a lot of practice and preparation to be successful in rodeo, something the Nelsons just consider to be a part of the game.
“We met through the rodeo circuit and we’ve been rodeoing together for the past 16 years,” adds Allene. “We work together a lot. I rope with Louis for practice and it’s nice having him there to tell me how I can improve or if I am doing something wrong.”
Rodeoing as a family is nothing new for Louis, as he started team roping with his dad in elementary school.
“I’ve been rodeoing for a long time and I don’t see an end in sight,” comments Louis. “I just love competing, and being able to spend more time with my family is an added bonus.”
While Louis loves the competition end of the rodeo, Allene is there for the horses and the rush she gets.
“I love horses and I love the people you meet at all of the rodeos,” says Allene. “But above all else, I barrel race because I love the excitement of riding a horse that fast and getting them to do what you need. That is such a high.”
While the NDRA Championship Rodeo is the main event of the weekend, it’s not the only rodeo event that will be in Watford City this weekend. Championship Team Roping will be held on Saturday, Sept. 11 at the fairgrounds outdoor arena with registration at 10 a.m. and roping action beginning at 11. If that’s not enough to keep you busy, you can also check out the High School Rodeo in the Multi-Purpose Building on Saturday starting at 8 a.m.
And, don’t forget your dancing shoes, because ‘Thunder Road’ will be playing at the fairgrounds both nights following the rodeo performances at 9 p.m.
Tickets for the NDRA Finals can be purchased at the door for $35 a family or $12 for adults. Tickets for children nine to 16 are $8, while children eight and under are free.