A new liberty horse act will highlight the ninth annual Statesboro Kiwanis Rodeo, coming to town in April.
Jessica Hedrick and her black and white American Paint Horse Cochise will wow the crowd as the horse performs independently, without a rider, said Danny Hedrick, owner of Hedrick Rodeo Company.
He was in Statesboro last week preparing for the two-day event coming April 12 and April 13 at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fairgrounds on Highway 67.
His wife, Jessica, has been with Cochise for the new act, which spotlights the historical significance of the “Medicine Hat” horse to Native Americans, he said.
A Medicine Hat horse is a paint horse, mostly white with a colored “hat pattern over its head and ears.” Cochise has this pattern, as well as a “medicine shield,” which is a patch of color on a white-based (tobiano) paint horse’s chest.
Paint horses have large patches of white and other colors over their bodies, such as the horse, also named Cochise, that Little Joe Cartwright rode on the classic western series “Bonanza.”
Hedrick’s Cochise also has one blue eye, called a “glass eye” in the equestrian world.
“That makes him even more special,” Hedrick said.
An announcer will narrate the act, explaining the significance of the Medicine Hat horse and the spiritual powers some believe they possess.
In its ninth year, the rodeo will bring championship professional competition, with riders from all over the world competing in bull riding, bronc riding, calf roping, barrel racing and more.
The family oriented rodeo will also include some fun kids’ events, Miss Rodeo USA 2019 Heather Morrison, and lots of exceptional bulls and bucking horses raised by Hedrick himself.
Several of his bulls and horses are award-winning champions and come from quality bloodlines. He feels a new mare, Firefoot, will please the crowd as she tries to toss her rider.
A new clown act is in store as well, he said.
Tickets will be available in March at Anderson’s General Store, said Bill Anderson, Kiwanis Rodeo chairman. Adult tickets will be $12 in advance and $16 at the gate.
“This is just going to be one fine rodeo,” he said.
Vendors for food, leather goods, western accessories and clothing will also be there, he said.
The Statesboro Kiwanis Club hosts the annual rodeo as one of its two fundraisers. The other is the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair in the fall. Each event brings in money that is distributed year-round to community charities, organizations and causes.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.