Rounders Prepare For Rodeo Of The Ozarks

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Beginning Wednesday (July 3), nearly 500 professional athletes will compete for more than $100,000 in prize money at the 69th annual Rodeo of the Ozarks in Springdale. One group of athletes won't be thinking about the money though - They're focused on speed.

The Rodeo of the Ozarks' Rounders were formed in 1995 to serve as ambassadors to the sport of rodeo. Today, the team of 22 women perform as a drill team performing choreographed routines on horseback set to music.

Kelly Morris, Director of the Rounders, said fans can expect to see "pretty girls, riding fast, pretty horses decorated in red, white and blue for the 4th of July rodeo."

Rookie Rounder Sophia Huffman said performing at this year's rodeo is a dream come true.

"Ever since I was a little girl I always told myself that I wanted to be in this arena," said Huffman who watched the rodeo growing up.

The Rounders begin weekly training in January. The sport is extreme and timing is critical with horses running at full-speed throughout the arena.

"You go out there and you don't have any doubt that you're not going to have a problem," said Rounder Bethany Reed. "That takes a lot to know that you have a horse you can trust."

Morris said this type of extreme sporting isn't for everyone.

"This is not for everyone and certainly not for the faint of heart," said Morris. "We like young girls that are not afraid to ride their horse fast."

The Rodeo of the Ozarks will be held at Parsons Stadium in Springdale July 3-6. The Rounders will perform each day of the rodeo.