Since 2001, I’ve held a close tie to the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo, and I’m very proud of what happens in the Oklahoma Panhandle every spring.
This year, I’m proud to report that there are 952 entrants into this year’s rodeo. Those are amazing numbers, but the format seems to work well for everyone involved. There is enough “added” money to make the purse attractive for the sport’s best contestants, and the time of year allows for a great opportunity for hundreds to compete.
My initial trip to Guymon’s rodeo took place that May with the support of Melyn Johnson, who worked for the city and talked me into covering the event for the state’s largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. I returned to Guymon a year later to take in the largest event in the region because it was home to the world’s greatest cowboys for a given week.
Because the newspaper decided to “bury” rodeo coverage, I missed the annual event in 2003 and 2004. I’ve been back for that rodeo in some form or fashion every year since. Since 2006, I’ve worked with the committee to help promote each edition of Pioneer Days Rodeo. It was the first contract for my business, Rodeo Media Relations; it continues to be a major part of who I am and what I do.
I’m honestly blessed by the relationships I have developed in the Oklahoma Panhandle, the most significant, of course, being with my wife. I met Lynette when she was on the committee in 2001, but we were nothing more than acquaintances until 2005. Now she’s my everything: My partner, my love, my biggest critic, my biggest cheerleader and the mother of my children.
In Guymon, just as the case with every other rodeo I work, the goal is to draw bigger crowds. We’ve done that, and what fans have learned is that there’s a Wrangler National Finals Rodeo-caliber showcase every performance. It’s been that way for a number of years, and I hope even more people show up at Hitch Arena the first weekend of May.
They’ll see rodeo’s biggest and brightest stars compete at one of the most prestigious rodeos in the area every year.