28 years ago, Helotes Festival Association directors decided to add a rodeo to the annual festival. So portable panels and chutes were located and moved to the area where the 4H building sits now. The rodeo started slow and for a few years, it was nicknamed the mud pit because when it rained the riders, tractors, and animals were up to their waist in mud.
However, not deterred the Rodeo Committee followed their dreams and like the movie Field of Dreams the committee built a permanent rodeo arena and the people started to arrive.
The first performance of the 2018 Cornyval rodeo will be held on Thursday, May 3. The rodeo begins with mutton bustin for the young cowboys/cowgirls who want to experience the rodeo at 7pm. The professional cowboys/cowgirls will start their performance at 7:30pm.
The Helotes Cornyval Rodeo is a PRCA sanctioned rodeo and has had some of the number one ranked athletes in the sport compete here at the rodeo. The PRCA has recognized the rodeo as the number 1 small outdoor rodeo in the nation at least four times.
Longtime Rodeo Committee Chairwoman (yes you read that right) Sharon Vetters “Mom” would spend tireless hours and many trips through the countryside recruiting riders, stock contractors, and specialty events to keep the rodeo as one of the top in the country. Due to health issues, “Mom” retired three years ago and Kathy Buys moved into her position. Vetters lost her battle with cancer and HFA officials named the corral in her honor.
Now Buys spends countless hours preparing for each year’s rodeo, organizing box seats, securing stock and entertainment.
Sammy Catalena served as the stock contractor for many years, and brought some very rank rough stock to the rodeo grounds. The area near the old rodeo announcer’s stand is called Catalena Park. Catalena and his Catalena Cowgirls provided color, pageantry, and entertaining drill routines for numerous audiences.
In 2015 the Helotes Festival Association Board and the Rodeo Committee elected to change stock contractors. The Committee selected another Sammy. Sammy Andrews from Addielou, Texas. Andrews is no stranger to the professional rodeo circuit as he competed in bareback riding and steer wrestling. His father produced professional rodeo stock contractor and in 1987 Sammy followed the family business when he bought his PRCA card and started producing professional rodeos.
Sammy, as well as the Andrews Rodeo stock, has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout the year. In 2008 he was inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame, in 2009 he was recognized by the Texas House of Representatives, and in 2011 by the Texas State Senate. In 2002 Andrews received the prestigious PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year award and was recognized as one of the Top Five PRCA Stock Contractors for 2000, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2014.
Along with receiving the 2015 PRCA Bull Herd of the Year award, some of his other stock awards include:
Cat Daddy – 2004 PRCA Bull of the Wrangler National Finals; and 2005 PRCA Texas Circuit Bull of the Year
Dodge Bodacious – 1999 PRCA Hall of Fame Inductee; 1995 Professional Bull Riders Association (PBR) Bull of the Year; 1994 and 1995 PRCA Bull of the Year; 1992, 1994 and 1995 PRCA Bull of the Wrangler National Finals; and 1993 and 1994 PRCA Texas Circuit Bull of the Year
Erks Me – 2004 PRCA Texas Circuit Bull of the Year
Fender Bender – 2006 and 2007 PRCA Texas Circuit Bull of the Year
Gin and Juice – 2012 Ram National Circuit Finals Bull of the Year
Outlaw – 2012 PRCA Texas Circuit Bull of the Year
Skat Kat Skoal – 1996 and 1998 PRCA Bull of the Wrangler National Finals; and 1997 PRCA Texas Circuit Bull of the Year
Skoal’s Outlaw Willie – 1991 PRCA Bull of the Year; and 1990, 1991 and 1992 PRCA Texas Circuit Bull of the Year
Wild Weed – 2003 PRCA Bull of the Wrangler National Finals
Cool Water – 2012 Ram National Circuit Finals Bareback Horse of the Year
Copenhagen Omalene – 1997 and 1999 PRCA Texas Circuit Bareback Horse of the Year
PTSD Power Play – 2011 and 2014 PRCA Texas Circuit Bareback Horse of the Year
Skoal’s Roly Poly – 2001 and 2004 PRCA Bareback Horse of the Wrangler National Finals; and 2002, 2004, and 2005 PRCA Texas Circuit Bareback Horse of the Year
Lock-N-Load – 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 PRCA Texas Circuit Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year
Roany Wiggles Skoal – 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 PRCA Texas Circuit Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year.
This year, every event is full. There are 21 bareback riders, 59 bull riders, 59 tie down calf ropers, 78 barrel racers, 26 saddle bronc riders, 33 steer wrestlers, and 50 team ropers participating in the three-day rodeo. There will be 10 athletes competing in the steer wrestling, barrel racing, team roping, and tie-down roping each night. For those not selected for the main performance, they will compete in what is termed “slack” on Thursday night. It is possible for a participant in “slack” to produce the winning time. “Slack” will take place immediately following the main performance on Thursday evening.
All rough stock must be finished during the regular performance of the rodeo. Currently, there will be almost 20 bull riders performing each night. The rodeo does not use a finals format, therefore, the rider with the highest score will be declared the champion, will receive the top cash prize, a buckle, and the overall champion of the rodeo will drive away from the rodeo towing a brand new trailer.