By Lee James and Raegan Stanley

Killeen Daily Herald

After 83 years, Belton knows how to have a rodeo. This year is expected to be just as successful as the past with three nights of traditional rodeo events and one night of "Bullapalooza" that will feature around 30 bulls.

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. at the Bell County Expo Center with steer wrestling, tie-down roping, barrel racing, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and, the crowd-favorite, bull riding.

There will also be entertainment from the younger crowd as each night will feature mutton bustin' from children ages 4-7. This event is a definite highlight of the night and if you're a bettin' man, go with the kid who has the chaps on...chances are this ain't his first rodeo. The youngsters will hang on for dear life to the fluff of a sheep and go for a memorable ride in the arena.

The rough stock will be provided by David Bailey, who has been in the stock business for more than 40 years. Bailey received his PRCA card in 1989 and has been entertaining cowboys and crowds alike with his award-winning stock and most recently, his bull, Lucky Strike. Lucky Strike was named the 2005 Wrangler Bull of the Finals and will be in attendance at this year's rodeo.

Saturday will showcase Bailey's stock as the night will feature only bull riding. There will also be junior bull riding on the final night of events.

The Belton celebration traces its roots to 1924 and the rodeo became a part of the tradition from the get-go. Young men who wanted to prove their abilities gathered at the arena at the top of "Penelope Street Hill" for goat and calf roping and a little bronc riding. Bulls at the time were any range animals they could catch and get into a chute.

The chamber built a new rodeo arena at Confederate Park after the end of World War II. Now the event takes place in the air-conditioned comfort of the Expo Center.

The city of Belton is expected to double in size to about 30,000 for the parade and festival.

More information can be found at the Belton rodeo web site at or by calling the Belton Chamber of Commerce at (254) 939-3551.

Contact Raegan Stanley at or call (254)501-7564.

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