A young gun will be ready to rope at the Inter-State Rodeo this weekend.
Dawson Appleton of Copan is a tie-down roper who will compete on Thursday, Aug. 15, during Coffeyville’s annual Inter-State Rodeo.
Appleton grew up in Copan and graduated in 2018 from Copan High School. He competed in junior and high school rodeo before attending Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami this past year.
Appleton competes in both the tie-down and team roping in college, but will not team rope at Coffeyville.
He’s a PRCA permit holder, the designation given to new members who are required to win $1,000 before they can get their card, or membership.
He’s competed at a handful of rodeos in the Prairie Circuit, just getting himself acclimated to professional competition. “I’m trying to get my feet in the water, to see what it’s like, and to see if it’s what I want to do,” he said. He will limit his professional competition until he finishes his ag-business degree in college.
Appleton has spent many summers at the Inter-State Fair and Rodeo as a spectator. He remembers attending with his mom and dad, Dale Appleton and Mendy Appleton. They attended grandstand events and Dawson and his younger brother, Mason, rode on carnival rides and hung out with friends. “We went to the tractor pulls and the monster truck shows and the demo derbies,” as well as the rodeos, Appleton remembered. Hanging out at the fair was a big deal. “The cool thing about the fair was that it was the last weekend before high school started, and it was our last little party before we went back to school.”
In collegiate rodeo, Appleton finished the 2019-2020 season in ninth place in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Central Plains Region.
After college graduation, he’d like to win the PRCA’s Rookie of the Year award and test the waters for full time pro rodeo. He knows it won’t be easy. “The biggest part is having the horsepower and enough horses to compete,” he said. “The other thing is having a rig, a truck and a trailer and somebody to help you drive.”
Appleton credits his family with helping him on the rodeo trail. Rodeoing isn’t always easy, and there are no guaranteed checks, so if he goes several weeks without winning a check, he knows how to stay positive. “I think of everything I’ve got going for me, instead of thinking of what’s against me. If worse comes to worst, I call back home, send videos of my roping, and have dad tell me what I’m doing wrong. I have a very good supportive family behind me.”
Appleton, with more than 200 other cowboys and cowgirls, will compete at the Inter-State Rodeo August 15-16 at the arena at Walter Johnson Park. Each night of rodeo includes eight PRCA events: bareback riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding, team roping, steer roping, barrel racing and the grand finale, bull riding.
Slack, the extra competition that doesn’t fit into the evening performances, will be held on August 16 at 8 am for tie-down roping, steer wrestling and steer roping. Barrel racing slack will be held following the rodeo on August 15.
Rodeo tickets are $15. Fun passes, which admit the bearer to all five nights of grandstand entertainment at the Fair, are $45.
The 111th annual Inter-State Fair and Rodeo runs Aug. 13-17. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit the website at www.FairandRodeo.com.