Riding into the arena with the American flag is an honor for any performer.
Each of the past 5 years, Brandy Clark of Cherry Valley has ridden her horse, Whiskey, at the Ogle County Fair while carrying the stars and stripes.
“This is my favorite rodeo,” she said during the Big Hat Rodeo at the fair Friday night. “I like the crowd when I enter the arena.”
She said the smiles on the kids’ faces when they see the horses puts one smile on her face, too.
“That is why I do it,” Clark said.
Whiskey is a 12-year-old American Paint Horse, and was a rope horse before getting the honor of being ridden by the flag-bearer.
Once the national anthem wrapped up, Clark rode around the ring one final time before heading to her trailer to brush, feed, and water Whiskey, and put all the riding gear away.
She then has to prepare to ride her other horse, a big gray specimen named Goat, in the barrel races.
Other events during the rodeo included the bareback riding, calf-roping, and team calf-roping.