The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on June 25, 2006 · Page 29
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 29

Hays, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Page 29
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PageD2, SUNDAY, JUNE 25,2006 NOR^WESTER THE HAYS DAILY NEWS W ABOVE: Mike Sommers welds a gate inside the small fairground shed that has been his weekend home since the mid-January start of the rodeo-arena rebuilding process. Welding materials were donated by Linweld Inc. in Hays. TOP: Construction of the new rodeo arena at the Ellis County Fairgrounds is well under way, but volunteer help is still needed. The arena was built from scratch by a small group of volunteer workers. NO TIME TO 'CHUTE' BULL IT TT Then people ask Mike Sommers if • %/%/ he's moving the rodeo arena, he ap- Y Y predates their curiosity but chuckles at the tone of the question. "I think some people think we're just chaining it up and moving it with a tractor from location to location/' Sommers said with a frustrated laugh. "That's obviously not the case. With this arena, moving is rebuilding." Since mid-January, Sommers, along with a group of volunteer workers, has been building a new rodeo arena for the Ellis County , Fairgrounds. To build the 300-foot-long facility, he's using new materials, as well as cut-up pieces of the old arena that previously was located on the hill wherefl new dirt race track how sits. Sommers, also a mechanic for Ellis Auto Repair, volunteers four to five days of each of his weeks to the burgeoning arena, welding and cutting and preparing gates and fences, STORY BY MICAHMERTES PHOTOS BY JAMIE ROPER racing to get everything done in time for the Ellis County Fair's rodeo, to take place July 18 and 19. "It took some people stepping up to make, this happen," said Glenn Lacy, Ellis County Fair Board member and rodeo'arena volun- • teer. "It was a lot more work than we originally planned, but otherwise it probably wouldn't have happened." Every weekend since the beginning of the project, Sommers has been aided in the reconstruction effort by his son, Shane.' "How Shane and I got involved, we originally wanted to do some revamping to the original arena, to build two sets of chutes and turn the arena around a bit," Mike Somroers said. "When we found out they were going to eliminate the arena and let the race track have the area, we suggested this. As you can see, our original plan would have been a lot less work. It's been a Jot of sweat and labor for everyone," This winter, Mike and Shane Sommers spent most of their time in a small, yellow shed up the hill and adjacent to the arena. In the shed sits the Millermatic 251 welder. Donated by Linweld, 1300 E, Eighth, the machine was used by the duo to construct the jtwo 6,QQQ- pound sets of bucking chutes —• where the livestock waits before bursting into the arena — that now sit at the back of the arena,. Also in the shed are oxygen and acetylene tanks'— the Sommerses have been through > five tanks of each — and the 45-pound spools of welding wire—five of these also have been use^. Northeast of the shed is thj scrap pile, a ,' wealth of '' — J -— i ~- 1 —- J •"" "This Under fair bojrd member Cglsen Werth'i direction, 4-H volunteer* painted much of Shane Sommere saW. : " arena Joc^u/in, yeajfe, ..... "" " Father and son Mike and Shane Sommers volunteer what spare time they have to building the hew rodeo arena. "We believe In the sport, simple as that," Mike Sommers said. "We believe in the sport," Mike Sommers said, "simple as that. We didn't want this thing .to disappear," Mike and Shane hope that the boosted quality might stimulate rodeo interest in the area, perhaps contributing to a future Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association competition. "A Jot of smaller towns are PRCA level," Shane Sommers said. "There's no reason Mike Sommtri Inspects the welds near the 6,000-pound Mts 9! chutes. l " • , : ,i Wthjflssthajj a month left until rodeo - "'{line; fie volunteers are putting in as much ' wk p ft$y can. The front side of the arena *sf \**»» ' , A new set of &'Y,' ho^djnii^n^^iJ the loading alley There's still UnjBft tohan$p4a press box to be RUjJt. The '•'' 9fwiA l 8 li^ts, ftre scheduled to arrive mere • -'• : d^a Wore the rodeo is scheduled to start. ^'HppefUlly we can get It done in time/' •V <',. K '• Mike summers said. "Until then, we'll be , * .PW.W*. Mike am} Shane Sommers are pwt of « work tew that Jnqludes Lacy, Werth, Bill Hansen, Wayde Sphraidtbergec Meredith and Don W^Ubrock.

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