Though the Andrews Rodeo Company will highlight this weekend’s rodeo, which begins tonight at 7 p.m., the professionals will be joined by some Brown County riders who will give the event its local flair.   

After all, riding, roping and ranching are a big part of the heart and history of Brown County, and many locals get started early. But few get started quite so early, or continue quite so passionately, as 7-year-old Bentley Till, who will participate in the barrel races on Thursday night — with the “big girls,” as she puts it.   

On her trusted steed, Shorty, Till has already performed in events around the state. For Till barrel racing is a family affair, passed down from her mother Kelly who rode in the past three Brown County Rodeos with her daughter. But this year it’s just Bentley in the arena, riding with girls more than twice her age.   

“She’s been on horses since she was a year old,” Kelly Till explained, and riding Shorty for the past three years. “[Barrel racing] is just something I always loved to do, and I just got lucky that she loves to do it to. From the time she could walk, she’s been around horses.   

“It’s just a family sport that we can do together,” she said.   

With the foundation laid, Bentley Till hopes to keep improving until she achieves her goal of becoming a trick rider. No doubt she’ll be keeping a close eye on the Lone Star Cowgirls this weekend, a trick-riding group of Montgomery County performers who will do pre-rodeo entertainment and national anthem presentations.   

She said she’s already been practicing a little. “Shorty lets me stand up in my saddle,” Till said. “And he lets me put glitter on him.”   

Till said barrel racing and bull riding are her favorite rodeo events.   

“People should come out and enjoy the rodeo,” Kelly Till said. “It’s really fun to watch.”   

The Brown County Rodeo begins tonight at 7 p.m. with Military Appreciation Night. Uniformed servicemen and women will receive free admission tonight.   

Otherwise, tickets are $8 for adults and $3 for children.