BELTON — There were six different competitive events in the Belton 4th of July PRCA Rodeo at the Expo Center on Friday night. 

“But the most exciting part to me was the woman who rode five horses at once,” said America Monteclaro, 15, of Harker Heights.

That early-evening stunt had the crowd enthralled.

“She started riding two horses and then, all of a sudden, she was on five,” said Amanda Panek, of Killeen. “I loved watching it.”

There were plenty of activities to keep the large crowd entertained.

“Just watching the whole rodeo is fun for me,” Monteclaro said.

Panek is a native of Minnesota.

“Being from the Midwest makes these rodeos so much fun to watch,” she said. “My husband is from Chicago so we didn’t get to see rodeos up north. This is my second one to watch here in Texas and I’ll absolutely be back next year.”

Tony Gillian, of Belton, was sporting a tall cowboy hat and an extra-thick belt buckle — much like those the winning rodeo contestants receive as a first-place prize.

“For me, the best part of a rodeo is the riding of the bulls,” he said. “That’s the really exciting part of these events.”

Jason Nef, of Harker Heights, brought sons Sean, 4, and Duncan, 2, to the rodeo on Friday.

“I like the horses,” Duncan

said. “I like it when the people ride the horses.”

“I like the sheep,” Sean said. “I like it when they go fast.”

Jason grew up in town that had a rodeo, Lakeland, Fla.

“Rodeos are an American tradition,” he said. “I want to expose my kids to them at an early age. I want them to appreciate all the hard work that goes into them. Plus, it’s Independence Day. It’s a great day to be an American.

“Few things are better than an American rodeo.”

Contact Allan Mandell at or 254-501-7566 and read his column at

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