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Western States Rodeo Comes To Eastern Idaho

A new kind of rodeo has come to Idaho Falls this week, not with horses but backhoes.

It may not be your traditional notion of sport, but the Western States Rodeo is sure to entertain you as it searches for the best heavy equipment operator in the northwest.

“It’s fun to watch, very entertaining,” Shauna Sawyer said, watching her 24-year-old son Houston Harris participate.

Every participant must demonstrate their skill in five events, from backhoe tire stacking to navigating a skid steer though an obstacle course.

“I ain’t too bad at running equipment,? participant Troy Vias said.

Spectators say they were not disappointed.

“I think rodeo defines it. You look at cowboys in a rodeo, they are good at what they do, that’s what they do day in and day out, they ride the stock,? Sawyer said. ?These guys run equipment day in day out, they are really good at it. Not everybody can do that. It’s like riding a bull, not everybody can do that. These guys are around what they do and I think it’s really fun that they’ve come up with this so they can show off in their sport.”

Finishing in 14 minutes and 13 seconds, Harris said he’s happy about his time.

“It was a good time out here today,? Harris said. ?It was fun, I got to see all the new stuff and see how everything is improved, and it’s improved a lot.”

The top contenders will compete at the end of August in Meridian and have a chance to win a 2011 Ford F250.

If you missed the rodeo at Sandy Downs, you can catch it in Pocatello next Tuesday and Wednesday.

For more details on the event visit

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