Killeen Rodeo Hosts ‘Military Appreciation Night’ | Living
“It was humiliating, it was amazing, and it was a great characterization of Texas – everything I had imagined.”
This is how General Michael Keating, the new Deputy Support Commander (UK) of III Corps and Fort Hood, described his very first rodeo experience.
“There’s nothing like it (where I’m from), and it’s just been mind blowing,” Keating said.
On May 20, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Rodeo 74th Annual Rodeo in Killeen hosted its Military Appreciation Night, and Keating, along with other military members from Fort Hood, were in attendance.
In addition to receiving free entry to the event with a military ID card, servicemen and other participants were treated to a special demonstration by the 1st Cavalry Detachment.
The detachment, a completely voluntary organization, is a ceremonial and recruiting unit dedicated to preserving the equestrian heritage of the 1st Cavalry Division. They train with firearms and sabers, wear traditional 1st Cavalry Division uniforms during their performances, and demonstrate traditional mounted drills and ceremonies, including marksmanship and saber skills. It was these skills that were demonstrated to the crowd during the rodeo.
“I have to be honest with you, I’m super excited to be here tonight,” Brig. General Brett Sylvia, 1st Cav. Div. remarked the Acting Commanding General, addressing the participants in the horse rodeo. “The first reason is that we can display our cavalry tradition; you have seen the mounted cavalry detachment display their belongings in impressive fashion. And now you see a general officer trying to stay on that (damn) horse!
“The second reason is that it gives me the opportunity to say thank you,” Sylvia continued. “Thank you to the great people of Killeen, thank you to the soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division, and thank you to the families of the 1st Cavalry Division. Because together we are a great team.
After the detachment’s presentation, there were typical rodeo events, such as bareback riding, saddle riding, tie-down ropes, barrel racing, and the crowd favorite: horseback riding. Taurus.
As Killeen’s rodeo wrapped up on Saturday, the PRCA will host another rodeo event July 1-3 at the Bell County Expo center in Belton.