For cowboys and cowgirls across the region, the middle of August in Nodaway County means just one thing — the Ed Phillips Memorial Rodeo, which will take place Friday and Saturday at the Philips Memorial Arena on the northwest edge of Maryville.
The arena is located west of Icon Road on 250th Street (16th Street).
This is the 18th year for the rodeo, which is named in honor of the former manager of the local Energizer battery plant. Phillips, an enthusiastic equestrian and former president of the Missouri Quarter Horse Association, died in a horse-related accident in 1995.
Phillips' son John was a member of the Northwest Missouri State University club rodeo team that year, and the organization was about to host its first rodeo in the school's newly built arena when Ed Phillips was killed. Both the event and the facility were subsequently named in his memory.
The Phillips family, which also includes John's sister Jill and their mother, Holly, remains active in organizing the rodeo each year and have helped build it into one of the area's premier cowboy competitions.
The event is sanctioned by both the Interstate Rodeo Association and the United Rodeo Association. Animals are being provided by the Grand River Stock Co. of Grand River, Iowa.
As in the the past, several thousand spectators are expected to travel to Maryville this weekend to watch riders and wranglers ride and rope for cash prizes. Competitions include bareback riding, calf roping, breakaway roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, team roping and bull riding.
There will also be a children's "calf scramble" during which youngsters will try to pull duct tape tags from skittish animals while chasing them on foot around the arena. All participants will receive a prize, and some of the tags will be marked for cash prizes.