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Cowboys on the road

Housing can mean tents or even horse trailers

September 4, 2012
Hans Madsen ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

DAYTON - While Willie Nelson famously sings about getting on the road again and making music with his friends, for at least one participant in the 75th annual Dayton Championship Rodeo, both those things hold true at the rodeo.

Travis Klingson, of Paton, helps out behind the scenes. He wrangles cattle and horses, and takes care of them as they rest up for the night's performance. His berth is a cot in the front of a horse trailer.

He also plays a pretty mean guitar.

Article Photos

Matt Lenning, of Stratford, at right, listens as Travis Klingson, of Paton, strums a few cords on his guitar Saturday afternoon at the 75th annual Dayton Championship Rodeo. Like many rodeo participants, the weekend means roughing it in everything from tents on the ground to sleeping berths in horse trailers.

"The Willie song is true for me," he said.

Klingson played at a number of venues in Dayton over the weekend, but his favorite gig is back at the campground.

"I play every night," he said. "I play for everybody in camp."

One of those, Matt Lenning, of Stratford, also does without some of the comforts of home for the long weekend.

"It's fun to camp," Lenning said.

They make do for things like showers - friends let them use one in their camper.

How rough the rough is can depend.

For Carly Halligan, 11, and her sister, Ashley Halligan, 14, it's not too bad.

"We have a nice camper," Carly Halligan said.

Of course, some things are a little more difficult.

"We don't get to shower as much as at home," Ashley Halligan said.

They also said they miss their dog, Lucy, but that it's balanced out with something else.

"We get to ride our horses all the time," Carly Halligan said.

Besides the recreational riding, the two also participate by carrying sponsor flags in the shows on Sunday and Monday, and riding in the parade.

Of course, the sky is the limit when it comes to campers. Some are huge custom busses, and some are simple tents.

Eric Houser, of Centerville, has one of the latter.

"We like the tent thing," he said.

Houser participates in team roping and said he goes to about 24 rodeos each year, staying within Iowa for most of them.

How does he get through a long weekend?

"You can survive," he said. "If you like to stink, just stand downwind."

At some rodeos, showers are available on the grounds while at others, "we have friends." he said.

Cooking can also be a problem.

"There's a fire ban, so you have to make do," he said.

Does he miss any of the creature comforts of home?

"Sometimes the air conditioning or TV," he said.

He said he enjoys his down time in the campground, with several horses tethered nearby and his friend, Lewis Palmer, to talk to it's a relaxing environment.

It's a treat for the olfactory system too.

"There's nothing like the good smell of horse dung," he said. "You take it into your tent with you since it's on your shoes."



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