The 12th annual Central PA Rodeo wrapped up today.
You can see many things at the rodeo at the Huntingdon County Fairgrounds, but the event also benefits a school in our area: St. Matthew Catholic School in Tyrone.
It’s their biggest fundraiser of the year. “Without this, I really don’t think the school would remain open for the families,” said Rebecca Davidson, who is the media chair for the rodeo.
Volunteers from the school and church work with a rodeo company to make the weekend happen. They spend an entire year getting ready for the rodeo. During the weekend, a lot of people lend a hand, including St. Matthew alumni.
“It’s a family thing really. The rodeo benefits the school and that’s what really brought me up and made me who I am today. And it’s really important that school keeps on doing what they’re doing,” said Kenny McKernan, who is an alumnus of St. Matthew’s.
Many alumni say that even though they’re long gone from the school,they still want to give back — whether it’s stocking drink coolers or giving pony rides.
“St. Matthew’s was where I grew up at and that’s where my church is too so it’s nice just seeing how it keeps growing every single year,” said Bobbi Kasic, who was helping with pony rides.
And the extra effort is appreciated. “It’s nice to see the older kids that love it so much that they come and put on a staff shirt and say where do you need help and they’ll help in any way that they can,” said Davidson.
While they’re working behind the scenes, the cowboys and cowgirls are entertaining the crowd with barrel runs, cattle chases, bull riding and more. Dave Hazlet, a rodeo judge from Washington, PA, said, “It’s the toughest sport in America. You’re going to get to witness the roughest…bull-riding is inherently the most dangerous sport in the whole world. You crawl on the back of 2,000 pounds of mean, mad bull.”
It’s the largest rodeo between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg and it’s all for a good cause.
“When I first heard that we were going to start doing a rodeo as a fundraiser, I was like wow that seems like something that nobody would really think of. and it turned out to be really successful for St. Matthew’s and I’m glad that it was able to benefit the school and I’m glad that a lot of people enjoy it, too,” said McKernan.