Wet and wild

DAYTON – It takes more than rain and mud to stop a rodeo. As long as there isn’t any lightning, the show goes on at the annual Dayton Championship Rodeo.

Volunteers Diana Brown, of Pella, and Julie Mann, of Fort Dodge, went ahead and did their jobs under a big umbrella.

They take tickets at the gate.

Mann shrugged off the precipitation.

“We’ll have a good time anyway,” she said.

Brown has been a volunteer at the rodeo for about 40 years, she said. She doesn’t mind missing the show to help out, although she does admit to the occasional look.

“I do take some peeks,” she said.

Her favorite is the wild horse races.

Her husband, Bernie Brown, also volunteers to work the gate. He had his own umbrella nearby Friday night.

He attended his first Dayton rodeo in 1961.

“I’ve been coming here since I was nine,” he said. “I just love visiting with people.”

Laura Malek, of Garner, and Steve Weber, of St. Peter, Minnesota, sat out the rain; they elected to stay in their spot on the bleachers.

He was keeping sort of dry under a blanket.

She was keeping, well, wet under a cowboy hat.

“That little kid brought me a blanket,” Weber said.

Of course, for a couple on their fourth date, the obvious next question might be why he, not her, had the blanket.

“I refused it,” she said.

Chivalry aside, neither really seemed to mind the moisture.

“I’d ride in this weather,” Weber said.

They were in for some more of it later; they are also attending the annual Polka Fest in Humboldt. Their shelter there has a zippered door.

“We’re tenting in Humboldt,” Malek said.

Natasha Venner, 11, and her brother, Corey Venner, 8, of Stanhope, were attending the rodeo with their parents, Howard and Nichole Davidson.

They were prepared; each had on a brightly colored transparent rain suit which kept them mostly dry.

“Except my face and my hair,” Natasha Venner said.

Her brother was having less luck.

“My clothes,” he said.

Monica Groh, of Indianola, has been attending the rodeo since her childhood.

“We always used to come down,” she said.

A large umbrella kept the rain off her and she said the elements are no deterrent to an evening of enjoying the rodeo.

“We’ll brave the elements,” she said. “We’re camping here too.”

The rain stopped a few minutes before the scheduled start of the rodeo. Organizers went straight into the program after the National Anthem and a prayer.

Jaydan Jeppesen, 7, of Boone, was among those who bowed their heads. She was huddled under the helmet she would wear for the mutton bustin’ event and an orange poncho.

Apparently, the powers that be above heard her request for the rain to stop.

“I hate getting wet,” she said.

The Dayton Championship Rodeo continues today. The performance starts at 7 p.m.