MANHATTAN, Kan. - Soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division traded in their combat boots and berets for cowboy hats and boots for the 55th Annual Kansas State University Collegiate Rodeo Feb. 20.
The rodeo is hosted at KSU’s Weber Arena for three days and concludes with Sunday’s Military Appreciation Day.
“Soldiers make sacrifices every day and even today the 1st Inf. Div. has soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. KSU has always been supportive of Fort Riley and our soldiers,” said Brig. Gen. Ricky Gibbs, deputy commanding general – maneuver.
Sunday’s rodeo began with entertainment provided by the 1st Inf. Div.’s country band ‘Gunpowder and Lead.’ The American flag was carried in by soldiers and horses of the Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard followed by opening remarks from Gibbs.
Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, had military vehicles on display outside of the arena for attendees to view as well as allowing them to try on body armor worn by soldiers in combat.
“I was happy that [1st Bn., 28th Inf.] got picked to come out today. We wanted to make sure we had our ‘Black Lions’ out here to display. The people seem appreciative of the military and interested in everything that we have set up out here. It’s been a good reception,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Crutchfield of Company A, 1st Bn., 28th Inf., 4th IBCT. “We were asked who would like to come out today and display our equipment. All the Soldiers here today volunteered to do this.”
Gibbs not only thanked the rodeo organizers for recognizing the military, but he additionally commended KSU for the partnerships its sports teams have created with several Fort Riley units.
“We currently have eight existing sponsorships between KSU sports teams and BRO units,” Gibbs said. “It really is a great partnership between KSU and the Big Red One.”