Buttons Stetler has logged thousands of hours driving to hundreds of rodeos all over the eastern United States. This weekend, her car will get a break -- even if she won't.

Stetler, of Waldorf, will be one of between 200 and 250 contestants at The Lone Star Rodeo's "Ride for the Brand Tour," to be held tomorrow and Saturday at the St. Mary's County Fairgrounds in Leonardtown.

Some 6,000 to 7,000 spectators are expected at the American Professional Rodeo Association-sanctioned event, which is being sponsored by the Leonardtown Rotary Club. And most of them, at some point, likely will be touched in some way or another by Stetler's family.

Her husband, Lewis, is a judge. Her sister will be riding in cowgirl barrel racing. Daughter Tandi Landolfi, 32, will participate in cowgirl barrel racing, cowgirl breakaway roping and team roping -- with Lewis. Son-in-law David Landolfi will be in the calf-roping event. The Stetlers' 6-year-old granddaughter does youth rodeo. And Buttons herself competes in cowgirl barrel racing and works as a timer.

"The favorite part for me is just to be able to ride in our home town because a lot of our neighbors and families never get to see us," said Buttons Stetler, who grew up in Prince George's County.

The program, in its 50th year, will feature bareback bronc and saddle bronc riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, cowgirl barrel racing and cowgirl breakaway roping. All eight events will be run on both days -- they are the same rodeos, just with different contestants. Each event will pay the winner $500 plus 93 percent of the contestants' entry fees, which are $50 each.

Advance tickets, sold at all Burchmart locations and through members of the Leonardtown Rotary Club, are $10 for adults, $6 for children ages 2 to 12. Tickets also will be sold at the gate, beginning at 5:30 p.m. each day, for $12 for adults, $8 for children 2 to 12. Children under 2 are free.

There will be free pony rides for children when the gates open each evening. Fans also can have their photos taken with a rodeo bull.

For more information about this event, call 301-475-6660 or send an e-mail to auldie@olg.com

Roller Hockey

Waldorf Team Takes Silver

Led by linemates Spenser Smallwood and Randy Utz, the Waldorf Checkers 12- to 13-year-old hockey team clinched the silver medal at the Southeast Regional in Winston-Salem, N.C., on June 13 and earned a bid to the national championship.

In a 10-minute overtime for the medal -- the result of a 4-4 tie at the end of regulation in Game One 12 hours earlier -- Smallwood, 12, scored all four goals in the decisive, 4-2, medal-game win over the Hounds, while the 13-year-old Utz had two assists. Mark Hartmann, Michael Tayman and Jason Ford also assisted on scoring plays.

The goaltending of Ric Scwartz and Josh Ellis held the opposition to just one goal in Games Two and Three -- a 7-1 blowout of the Rattlers and a 6-1 rout of the Flames of Raleigh -- and was outstanding in the overtime game.

The national championship will be held in Des Moines, Iowa, in late July.

Track and Field

SMAC Athletes Compete in Texas

Two former Southern Maryland Athletic Conference track and field stars made respectable showings at the USATF Junior Nationals in Denton, Texas, last weekend.

Pole vaulter KC Allen, a 1999 graduate of Calvert High School, cleared 10 feet 10E inches to tie for 17th out of 25 competitors. Using the college discus, 1999 Thomas Stone graduate Tim Bilmanis took 13th out of 17 with a throw of 153-11.

The qualifying marks for this meet were much tougher than any other meet they participate in, so just going to a meet of this level is a big accomplishment, according to Allen's mother, Christie.

Both will be eligible for the meet next year as well. Bilmanis is headed to the University of Virginia, while Allen will attend Tennessee.


Regatta Set For Saturday

The 1999 Southern Maryland Sailing Association Summer Small Boat Regatta is set for Saturday.

Races will be held in the Patuxent River between the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge, the Town Creek and Solomons areas and the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. The first race will begin at 11:15 a.m., with three to five races to follow.

Any class with five or more boats will be awarded a one-design start; all others will race in either a Portsmouth mono-hull or Portsmouth multi-hull class start. Planned classes include Lasers, Mobjacks, Lightnings, Interlakes, Frontrunners and International Canoes.

For more information about this event, visit http://www.smsa.com/smallboat/dinghy.htm or call Don Behrens at 301-862-2281.


Wave Washes Over Opponents

The Waldorf Wave under-16 boys select soccer team recently won the National Capital Soccer League (NCSL) Division 2 Championship, finishing the season with an undefeated record.

Coach Ed Tomasko's team also made waves last month by winning the Under-16 Virginian Tournament -- the second-largest youth tournament on the East Coast -- over the Memorial Day weekend.

The NCSL is the premier soccer league in the Washington area, featuring select teams from throughout Northern Virginia and Maryland.

Auto Racing

Emery Fails to Qualify

Jamie Emery, a Top Fuel Harley rider of Colton's Point, did not qualify at the International Hot Rod Association Amalie Oil Summer Nationals.

On the first attempt Friday, Emery shut off early with a 12.426/43.07. On Saturday, he ran 7.082/188.38, good enough for the bump spot going into the third and final session. But he failed to improve during that session with a 7.13/184.50 and was bumped from the program.

Emery will be at the IHRA Carquest Empire Nationals in Leicester, N.Y., on July 9-11.

CAPTION: At last year's Lone Star Rodeo in Leonardtown, this bronc got the best of Dean Fowler, of Charlotte Hall.