With a population of close to 500 people, Irene, S.D. is certainly one of those so-called small towns. However, each year in early summer, this community gives way to one big event; the annual rodeo. Celebrating 20 years in existence, it's something the locals are truly proud of.
"It takes a lot of hard work but it is a lot of fun," IRA Treasurer Bill Marcotte said. "I think this rodeo is a feather in Irene's cap and we are very proud of it."
"This is small town U.S.A. and every person has their own story," radio announcer Randy Taylor said. " The people who are associated have been there a long time and love seeing it grow."
Thrilling the big crowds with everything from saddle bronc riding to mutton busting, the two-day event certainly has something for everyone. It's an indication of the competition's evolution over the years.
"We try and improve it each season, making it more enjoyable for the fans," Marcotte said. "They pay a lot of money for this, we want to make it a good show."
And that is no bull. In any rodeo, you find that it's the people who make it truly magical. In this case, Irene certainly mean business. Some of it, pretty funny business.
"I am a little out there, but I love doing this," 15-year rodeo clown Shawn Stutzman said. "This has been something that my family has done for three-generations, and I'm not stopping."
But there is a serious side as well. Riders come from near and far to compete in the various events, and maybe strike a little coin in the process
"I came six hours to compete and maybe come back with more change than I had before," 16-year old rider Shayne O'Connell said.
"Last year, I won this event," rider Mark Kenyon said. "This rodeo has been good to me and I wanted to return for it."
It's a start for those who dream of hitting it big and an end for those who have seen the bright lights and just love to compete..
"It's less than two hours from my house," local legend Jill Moody said. "I love coming back to my roots and competing in Irene."
A delicious slice of Midwest Americana. For those in Irene, they hope it's on the menu for many years to come.
"This is cattle country, cowboy country, it all comes together," Taylor added.
"I see this going to twenty-five, thirty and maybe even forty years," Marcotte said. "Who knows?"