SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - More than 10,000 people went to the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo Friday night and police are expecting just as many tomorrow.
But long before the gates open, dozens of police officers and emergency workers create a plan to keep you safe and prepare for the unexpected.
Mike Williams, Director of Sikeston Department of Public Safety is in charge of the group.
He says they meet two times before each rodeo to discuss weather conditions, special guests at the rodeo and trouble areas to keep an eye on.
"It can be as small as a hornet. It can be as big as a bull, or a tractor-trailer truck," Williams said. "You've kind of got to be prepared for anything."
Williams says officers focus on helping to keep traffic flowing, finding lost children and cracking down on underage drinking, while workers with the EMS agencies help people with heat exhaustion or other medical needs.
"That is why we have a medical tent. The hospital is out here. We bring out the helicopter just in case and sometimes we've used it," Williams said. "When you're dealing with cowboys and rodeo clowns, the chance of them getting hurt is pretty high. They put their life out there on the line."
Williams says about a third of his available officers work the rodeo. Scott County Sheriff Wes Drury says about half his deputies work it, and many of the first responders are volunteering for the job.
Sgt. Clark Parrott with Missouri State Highway Patrol says his favorite part of the rodeo is getting to know the people he serves in the community.
"It is long, hot days in the dust and in the mud, and everything else but you know we have fun," Parrott said. "There is one little girl she and I have taken a picture together I think every year over the last five years. I'm wearing her hat and she is wearing my hat. She wants to keep that going. It's fun for her she enjoys seeing it and that is what it's all about."
Emergency crews are warning officer and the people going to tomorrow rodeo to prepare for the heat by drinking lots of water before and during the rodeo.