Fewer than 800 people live in New Windsor, but for the next two days they’ll have company from thousands who will fill the town for its 79th annual rodeo.
But for some of the locals, it’s when they feel most at home.
A parade kicks off the rodeo every year and this year the grand marshals are a group from the American Legion. One of the veterans is 85-year-old Joseph Hennefent — but everyone calls him bud.
Bud has been helping put on the rodeo for more than four decades.
“It’s just homespun. It’s a community project and you don’t see a lot of community projects anymore,” Bud said.”I don’t know what you’d do to change it to make it any better, unless you wanted to make it worse.”
While it’s a celebration for the whole town, it brings in champion riders from all over the country.
“It’s just world champion, after world champion, after reserve world champion, top 15 cowboys and cowgirls that come to the rodeo, that want to be here because of the money,” said rodeo announcer Monty Stueve. “There’s $10,000 up for grab.”
That’s a prize that can be life changing.
“It’s a rodeo that can catapult you from the middle of the standings to the top of the standings,” Stueve said.
However, for Bud it’s just a time when his whole hometown can come together.
“People are wonderful,” he said. “They say, ‘Glad to see you, Bud.’ That’s what makes home, home.”