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Trick roper brings old and contemporary to the North Platte rodeo

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — When the Buffalo Bill Rodeo kicks off next month, it'll have amongst its entertainment a throw-back to what would have been in Buffalo Bill Cody's show: a trick roper.

Loop Rawlins, a trick roper who appeared on NBC's America's Got Talent, will entertain during each night of the rodeo at the Wild West Arena.

The Tucson, Ariz., man got his start at the age of 8, after he watched a trick roper at his hometown rodeo. He was "impressed," he said, and "was inspired to do it. I thought it was unique and different."

His parents bought a kids' trick rope, and with a cap gun and fake bullwhip, he began practicing. He became part of a trick riding group in Tucson, becoming consumed with the art. "I practiced hard, and during break times other students would be running around, and I'd be like, 'there's a break time?'" Once he outgrew the group, he began working at a western tourist town, trick roping for visitors. He was 14 years old, and it was good experience in front of audiences. He then moved on to performing at a dude ranch, then when he was 22, got a call from Cirque du Soleil, asking him to do the western portion of the show. He did that from 2009 to 2012.

WESTERN ENTERTAINMENT

In 2014, he finished in the semi-finals for America's Got Talent and was the only western performer on the show that year. He liked showing western entertainment to a mainstream audience. "A lot of people think a cowboy with a rope sounds boring. I was able to show to a pretty big audience that it wasn't boring. I made it cool."

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Rawlins, who became a PRCA member in 2014, has worked the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, Rodeo Rapid City in South Dakota, and San Angelo, Texas, and Grand Island, Neb., among others.

Rawlins keeps roping historical yet updates it. "It's authentic and old west, but I bring it in a contemporary way." And he looks forward to entertaining at the rodeo which bears the name of the first wild west showman, Buffalo Bill. Buffalo Bill "was a showman. I definitely have to thank him, because I don't' know what the wild west show would be without him."

Rawlins will entertain during each performance of the Buffalo Bill Rodeo in North Platte June 14-17. Tickets range in price from $7 to $20 and can be purchased online at http://www.NebraskalandDays.com, at the gate, or at the office at 2801 Charlie Evans Drive (at the Wild West Arena in North Platte.)

For more information, visit the website or call (308) 532-7939. ❖