Queen Creek, AZ

Roots N' Boots ropes Queen Creek rodeo fans into fun, education, and food

Timothy Rawles

Roots N' Boots community eventJon Wootten

By Timothy Rawles / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ

(Queen Creek, AZ) Roots N’ Boots, the event that calls itself “More than a rodeo,” returns for its annual installment from March 17 to March 20. The much-anticipated community happening will find the Horseshoe Park & Equestrian Centre full of people, barn animals, and the aroma of delicious barbeque.

Jon Wootten, president of the Friends of Horseshoe Park has been a big part of this event since it first started.

"It's probably twelve, thirteen years ago," says Wootten about the event’s origin. "When the town built Horseshoe Park, they did a grand opening. The grand opening was a success and they then decided we should do an event — a community event with a theme of getting kids involved with animals, community competitions, that sort of thing.”

“The town put on the first Roots N’ Boots,” he continues, “and our nonprofit helped with the rodeo aspect of that event. After that event, the town said, ‘You know, we can't do this. We're not good at it, it costs too much money. Friends of Horseshoe Park will you take it on?’ We formed an agreement — a partnership with a town on how to do that home and we've been running it ever since."

Wootten and his wife are Arizona natives who moved to the Queen Creek area about 22 years ago.

Jon says the Roots N' Boots event can best be described as an old-time county fair. "There is a professional rodeo and there's a carnival," he explains. "There are also kids’ activities primarily on Saturday that are free and are agriculture-oriented. Competitive events are part of the fun, too, along with clinics, and demonstrations. Mounted shooting, for instance, is one of the competitions on Sunday. So, it's a whole wide range of both spectator events and participative events."

Roots N' Boots community eventJon Wootten

There's a cornhole competition that goes on. There's also roping and barrel racing for horse owners who want to participate.

"For kids, there's mutton busting; they ride sheep," says Wootten. "We do … it’s called Dash for Cash. So, there's their certificates or money attached to calves. The kids have to grab the money off the calves. We do something called ranch dressing, which is you run down to a goat, you dress the goat in the required short shirt and hat then you bring the goat back across the finish line, and the first team wins."

Teenagers have a lot of activities including piggyback races where they maneuver around a barrel racing pattern.

"We do something called chute dogging: The teenager gets in the chute,” says Wootten. “They wrap their hands around the steer. We open the gate and they need to wrestle the steer to the ground. We had, I think, seventy-five kids do it last year … it was evenly split between boys and girls."

People can relax by visiting the petting zoo or the pony rides. The "Ag Zone" will do a lot of agricultural teaching "There's a carnival, there'll be draft horses out there ... mounted shooting. There's a wide range. And of course, vendors, right? Lots of Carnival food, that kind of stuff."

Roots N' Boots community eventJon Wootten

Wooten says the event is not only educational but sporty and presents opportunities to use specific skills. "And what we've tried to do is make sure that that it is particularly focused on kids. You know, there are things for kids with their own horses who are skilled in competing and there are things for kids who don't have a horse who haven't been around animals, but they can still get in a pen and chase the pig or, you know, grab a goat, ride a sheep, that kinda thing."

The event is free, you pay $5 for parking except for Thursday when parking is free. It's a small price of admission when you think about all that happens over the weekend, especially for the kids.

The Roots N' Boots community event takes place from March 17 to March 20, 2022 at Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Centre, 20464 East Riggs Road in Queen Creek.

For more information click here.

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Timothy Rawles has been a journalist for over 20 years. He has written for global publications in San Francisco, San Diego, and Phoenix. His favorite stories are features, interviews, entertainment news, and local stories.

San Tan Valley, AZ

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