Fair pays homage to Will County’s history
BY JAIME ANGIO Correspondent August 23, 2012 7:56PM
Jake Stadt riding his horse Hustler. | Supplied photo
Updated: September 25, 2012 10:48AM
Jake Stadt is a real cowboy. Even when he was playing baseball and basketball as a kid, his coaches and peers often called him exactly that.
So it’s no surprise the 24-year-old Grant Park resident, who has been roping cattle since he was a “calf,” is a professional roper on the rodeo circuit.
The three-time saddle winner — those are rodeo prizes — will be showing off some of his skills this weekend at the Will County Fair in Peotone.
The fair, celebrating its 109th anniversary, is open from 8 a.m. to midnight through Sunday. Admission is $4, with children under 10 getting in for free. There are additional charges for several events.
The fairgrounds are just west of Illinois 50 on Peotone-Wilmington Road.
Team roping won’t be featured during Sunday’s rodeo, but Stadt will be taking part in a very integral part of the steer-wrestling event: Hazing.
As Stadt describes it, “There are two guys, one in the left-hand box and one in the right-hand box of the ropin’ shoots. And the steer comes out, the guy on the left-hand side runs by him and jumps off, and the hazer is the guy that pushes the steer to him so he can get off and catch it.
“If you don’t have a hazer, there is really no other way to get off your horse and jump onto a steer.”
Stadt, who also owns JS Livestock, also shows and sells miniature horses and wheels and deals a plethora of goats, sheep and cattle — basically “anything livestock,” he said — that live at the 120-acre farm in Grant Park.
“The only thing I haven’t got is a llama,” he said.
Stadt had his very own horse named Rattlesnake at age 3 and roped his way from kindergarten through high school, competing in national rodeo events and earning himself a full rodeo scholarship to Missouri Valley College, a private four-year school in Marshall, Mo.
During the spring-to-fall rodeo season, Stadt, who has a degree in business development, travels across the Midwest competing in International Professional Rodeo Association and Central Region rodeos.
He said there is a huge misconception about being a “cowboy.”
“Everyone thinks they can do it,” he said.
The fair certainly gives folks reason to buy into that notion, paying homage to the county’s rural and agricultural history.
There will be a carnival, tractor pull, livestock auction and even “Chicken Droppin’ Bingo,” a game in which, according to the fair’s website, a player can win $50 for a $2 donation if the chicken decides to “conduct a little business” on the player’s numbered square.
For more information on the fair, visit www.willcountyfair.org/.
Contributing: Staff reports