Shrine Rodeo has super fan
McLouth resident has never missed annual event, which begins Thursday in Tonganoxie
George Mestagh loves his rodeo.
The McLouth man never has missed a Shrine Rodeo.
That’s 53 years of rodeo, three nights each year, for a total of 159 nights of rodeo.
Warm spring nights, wind, rain, even thunder and lightning — he sat through it all.
Nothing deterred Mestagh from watching the sport that he loved and with which he grew up.
The 76-year-old cowboy was born in west Texas on the family ranch. But his father wanted to be a farmer, and when Mestagh was 13, they moved to the Muncie area. His mom wasn’t really wild about coming to Kansas, but they did.
The family had horses and livestock, and when Mestagh began in the construction business, he continued with livestock.
He’s always stayed close to his rodeo roots.
“A lot of that carried on with me,” he said.
And it’s carried on with his kids, too. The five of them all competed in rodeo at some point, and now, out of eight grandkids, three of them compete in high school rodeo and another one, daughter Cheyenne Patton, is a former Miss Abdallah Shrine Rodeo queen.
Illness has never caused him to miss a night of rodeo, either.
“I’ve never been sick a day in my life,” he said.
When his family was young, they went along. His wife would pick one night to attend, instead of all three nights.
“She loved going to rodeos, but sometimes I think she was glad when I loaded up the kids and headed to the rodeo so she had a night of peace,” Mestagh said with a laugh.
The Shrine Rodeo, which traditionally takes place Memorial Day weekend, hasn’t always been at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds. It’s also taken place at Hale Arena and the Wyandotte County Fairgrounds. But it doesn’t matter the venue; Mestagh will be there.
It’s the atmosphere of rodeo that he loves.
“Lots of fun, lots of friendship, good people, the camaraderie with the people, it keeps me coming back,” Mestagh said.
And he won’t miss this year, either.
“It’s a really enjoyable weekend at the Shrine Rodeo,” he said.
This year’s rodeo is Thursday and Friday, with a demolition derby on May 26. For more information, visit the website at shrinerodeo.com.
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