The Burnley Memorial Library in Cottonwood Falls had some special visitors to story time last week.
The Kansas Rodeo Queens, 2018 - 2019 Miss Interstates Rodeo Queen Shayla Lowry, trick roper Rider Kiesner and trick rider Bethany Iles joined a large crowd of 90 children for a day of rodeo fun at the library. Ruby the Miniature Horse and Shrek the Goat were also a big hit with the children.
The day started with the six Rodeo Queens reading books — all of which had a rodeo theme — to the children. Then it was outside on the front lawn of the library for stick horse races. Finally, the children had a chance to get autographs and their photos taken with the Rodeo Queens and, of course, pet and even feed Ruby and Shrek.
“I’ve always had a really big passion for spreading the history of rodeo,” Lowry, a native of Council Grove, said. “This helps us reach what is sort of a removed generation and bring them back to agriculture.”
Miss Rodeo Junction City 2018 - 2019 Zoe Bean said she enjoys events like the one Friday when she gets to go out and help spread her love of rodeo.
“It brings us to the next generation,” Bean said. “Rodeo has been sort of dwindling down in recent years, so we want to get these kids from a super young age and get them excited about the rodeo. It’s nice because it not only helps the current generation, but it will hopefully help for years to come. We want to keep the rodeo living for a long time.”
Lowry said it was attending the rodeo and getting to meet people such as herself during her childhood that helped ignite her passion for rodeo.
She looked up to Miss Rodeo America Amy Wilson when she was growing up and has since been able to form a friendship with her. She hopes other young cowgirls and cowboys will have that same excitement build up in them after meeting the Rodeo Queens along with Kiesner and Iles.
“I always enjoy spotting some of the kids at these events that have big smiles on their faces,” she said. “But hanging around them always puts a big smile on my face, too.”
Library Director Janet Ayers said she was excited to see such a great turnout to Friday’s event, and hoped it will help show some of the families all of the fun events that are going on at Burnley Memorial Library.
“Reading is included in lifelong learning,” Ayers said. “To have this size of a crowd here really just helps us promote the idea of lifelong learning; and it helps them find out about the fun activities we have going on here at the library.”
The rodeo events continued Saturday morning when Randy Peterson and Bruce Brock gave a lesson in roping with roping dummies.
The Burnley Memorial Library is open 2 - 7 p.m. Monday, 2 - 5 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. - noon Saturday. It is located at 401 N. Oak St. in Cottonwood Falls. Story time is at 10 a.m. every Friday.
Ayers said she plans to bring the Rodeo Queens back to the library on the Friday of the Flint Hills Rodeo next year.