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.

(5) comments


Question: the next time these children see Shrek the goat (who they enjoyed petting) will he be tethered in the middle of a rodeo arena waiting to be lassoed, thrown on the ground and have his feet tied together? Just curious.

Eric Mills


It is just unimaginable that the library is promoting animal abuse and cruelty to children. Children naturally love animals and teaching them to treat them as objects is WRONG. Rodeos need to be banned worldwide and libraries, especially, need to be about learning kind ways to live in the world. Stop teaching our children that animals do not have feelings because they feel pain just like they do if you were to rope them or abuse them. Children are at adult mercy. If adults hurt animals, children think it is ok to abuse animals too. Stop this cruelty NOW.


This was such a great event! The turnout was amazing! A big thank you to all of the volunteers that made this event possible!

Eric Mills

Be aware that nearly EVERY animal welfare organization in North America condemns rodeo due to its inherent cruelty. A 1970's "Joint Rodeo Policy Statement" by the Humane Society of the U.S. and the American Humane Association states (in part): "The HSUS and the AHA contend that rodeos are not an accurate or harmless portrayal of ranching skills; rathery, they display and encourage an insensisitity to and acceptance of brutal treatment of animals in the name of sport. Such callous disregard of our moral obligations toward other living creatures has a negative impact on society as a whole AND ON IMPRESSIONABLE CHILDREN IN PARTICULAR (emphasis added)" It needs to stop. Rodeos were outlawed in the United Kingdom in 1934 (England, Scotland, Wales). The U.S. should follow suit.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.