Cowpokes kick up good time at rodeo
By RYAN DAVIS, Times Staff Writer
They came to the Odessa Rodeo this weekend with different answers.
For John Payne, with one arm, it was a mustang. He's known around rodeo circles as the "One Arm Bandit." For 12 years Payne has been riding atop horses with a whip in his only working arm. He rides them up ramps, down ramps and around in circles.
The 49-year-old was injured by an electrical shock in 1973 and lost use of his right arm. He launched his act 12 years ago -- just to back up his big mouth, he said.
"If it was safe, grandma would be doing it and no one would be watching," Payne said. "We like a little danger."
For rodeo clown "Shotgun" Rodney Gaston, the answer was anything but the horns of a bull. He's had enough danger.
He broke his left thigh bone less than three months ago in a Tallahassee rodeo. Friday marked his return.
"It's great to be back. I hated it at home," he said.
He limped with a rod in his left leg, taunting his horned nemesis.
For Bob Barthle, the answer was a horse and then a steer -- for as short a time as possible.
The steer wrestler from Darby finished second Friday night in his event. He will try again today.
"I ran him a little farther than you would normally like," he said of his steer. "But once I got him, he went down pretty easy."
For Dylan Klasko of New Port Richey, the answer had nothing to do with horses or bulls.
The 4-year-old came for the carnival rides, especially the yellow motorcycle on the carousel.
"It's cool," he said, "because it goes fast."
And Barthle said, "It's probably safer."
-- Ryan Davis can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6245, or toll-free at 800-333-7505, ext. 6245. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
If you go
The Odessa Rodeo continues today off State Road 54, just west of Gunn Highway. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. The rodeo events run from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Parking is $5. Admission is free.
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