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Volunteer veterinarian Solomon Benarroch provides care for horses at the popular St. Paul Rodeo.

ST. PAUL — There's a doctor in the house during the St. Paul Rodeo.

It's not a doctor of human medicine, but a doctor of veterinary medicine, with a role that often goes overlooked.

Solomon Benarroch has been volunteering his time at the St. Paul Rodeo for the past dozen years, taking care of horses at the annual event.

Per Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rules, a veterinarian must be on site during all rodeo competition, and Doc Solomon, as people call him, is one of a team that provides livestock care.COURTESY PHOTO - Dr. Solomon Benarroch stands with veterinary assistant Laura Hobbs in the arena at the St. Paul Rodeo. The veterinarian works with rodeo horses, especially barrel racing horses, in St. Paul and others rodeos in the Northwest.

He specializes in equines, especially barrel racing horses, and with pro rodeo riders from across the nation competing in St. Paul, he's needed anytime care is needed.

"We have contestants from all over the country," Benarroch said. "They often need everything from horses examined, to refills on supplies, or they might be in a position where they're buying a horse and need a prepurchase exam."

Benarroch doesn't work just during the St. Paul Rodeo. He's on hand at other rodeos in the Northwest, including in Ellensburg and Puyallup, Washington, Hermiston and others.

Word has gotten out, that Benarroch is an excellent veterinarian. Prior to pro rodeos, "I'll get calls and texts in advance, asking 'what rodeo will you be at?'"

The animals are often worth six figures, and barrel racers rely on Benarroch's care. They aren't at the rodeo for very long; they compete and often leave the same day, requiring veterinary care immediately. "There's a narrow window of opportunity," for the contestants, he said. "It's typically, let's meet and get the animal taken care of so they can get back on the road."

The horses are precious to their riders' competition, and Benarroch realizes that.

"These horses competing in rodeo are considerably valuable, and (rodeo) people are incredibly competitive. There's a lot at stake."

Benarroch is gratified that rodeo competitors have faith in him.

"Everybody has their own veterinarian at home that they have confidence in and feel comfortable with. I, as a veterinarian, can communicate with their veterinarian back home, be the boots on the ground and be part of the veterinary team that treats them so they can continue down the road and have a successful rodeo season."

Benarroch often treats horses whose riders qualify for the National Finals Rodeo, pro rodeo's world championship. "I keep tabs on the rodeo results and standings, and when it's time for the National Finals, I'll see who has qualified. I take great pride in saying those are people whose horses we've worked on," he said.

Benarroch comes from humble beginnings. His parents immigrated to Winnipeg,Canada, from Tangier, Morocco, in 1966. His dad and uncle worked in the beef packing industry. Benarroch graduated from the Western College of Veterinarian Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and completed an internship at the University of Minnesota. His career began in the race track industry in Washington and Oregon before moving into the pro rodeo and barrel racing worlds. His dad, Moe Benarroch, who is 91 years old, often travels to rodeos with him and loves going.

And this year, Doc Solomon will be on hand to care for the rodeo athletes at the St. Paul Rodeo.

This year's rodeo, the 86th, takes place June 30-July 4. Performances are nightly at 7:30 with a 1:30 p.m. matinee July 4.

Fireworks follow each evening performance. A parade through downtown St. Paul takes place at 10 a.m. July 4.

Rodeo tickets can be purchased online at StPaulRodeo.com and at the gate.

For more information, visit the website or call the rodeo office at 800-237-5920.


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