There’s a lot to salute when it comes to small-town rodeos in the Midlands.

These annual events demonstrate a community’s energy and spirit. They pass along a rich tradition that goes deep into our nation’s history. And they provide a venue for rodeo competitors to display their skills and determination.

If you want to witness remarkable athletic intensity, check out a bronc rider as he holds on while riding that whirlwind. Then there’s the concentration a rider demonstrates in trying to rope a calf or speed around barrels — all with the clock relentlessly bearing down.

Sunday World-Herald coverage recently highlighted two of the Midlands’ finest small-town rodeos — in Burwell, Neb., and Sidney, Iowa.

Alyssa Schukar’s photos of Nebraska’s Big Rodeo in Burwell captured the color and excitement of that annual four-day event that draws an estimated 20,000 spectators. Joe Duggan’s reporting noted how that Sand Hills community, with its attractive downtown and volunteer spirit, has kept the rodeo going for some 92 years.

Staff writer Andrew Nelson explained that the rodeo in Sidney, Iowa, which attracts around 25,000 people over five days, began as a salute to veterans and has been going strong for 90 years.

Burwell and Sidney deserve applause for continuing the rodeo tradition with such spirit and success. That record is a testament to community strength and dedication.

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