BRIDGEPORT, Texas – When Loydd Williams looks around, he sees home and family.
That’s Wise County in general. More specifically, it’s Bridgeport. And, really, it doesn’t matter if he’s in Fort Worth or Oklahoma City or on any highway in between; Williams will tell people about home.
It’s one of many reasons why he’s part of the community’s annual Butterfield Stage Days, serving as chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual ProRodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, May 10-11, at Bridgeport Riding Club Arena.
“The reason I volunteer is because I try to give something back to my hometown and give back to the sport I love and that’s brought so much enjoyment to me and my family,” Williams said.
Williams is the lead person on the 25-member volunteer committee that works year-round in order to put on the best show possible for fans in north Texas. From meeting with sponsors and potential contributors to setting up the arena for competition, the key workers are men and women who donate their time and talent for the annual celebration.
“This is our seventh year with the ProRodeo,” Williams said. “Three years prior to that, we had a team roping, so we’re right at 10 years that we’ve been doing something with the goal of bringing more people into Wise County and into Bridgeport.”
He got started in rodeo at age 16, when he was introduced to roping by good friend Billy Fred Walker. Since then, it’s been a big part of his life, and he’s quite happy it has.
“I wouldn’t take a million bucks for the experience I got in raising a kid around rodeo,” he said, referring to his son, J.C., who has competed at nearby Weatherford (Texas) College. “Getting to see J.C. qualify for the Texas Circuit Finals and the All American finals while he was still in college is something you just can’t buy. That means the world to me.”
And that passion for the sport has continued to be a driving force for Williams. He strives each year to have the Bridgeport rodeo be recognized as one of the best in the country.
“I think we all work really hard to be an event that even if I’m 200 miles away from home and tell someone I’m from Bridgeport, that they’ll say, ‘Man, that’s a good rodeo there,’ ” he said.
That takes a solid workforce of people willing to put in the hours and effort.
“When the rodeo’s over, we’ll get back together around the first of July, go over financials and start the process all over,” Williams said. “You don’t get much of a break on these kinds of productions.
“The core of our committee is the seven individuals who take the leadership roles. They’re on task; they take their tasks, and they do them with pride.”
From publicity to fund-raising to tackling whatever assignments come up, all the work is done by people who have a passion for the community and for the legacy of Butterfield Stage Days.
“When it gets closer to rodeo time, all those pieces come together,” Williams said. “Everybody wants to do it, and they love what they do. We’ve got the best attitudes of any committee I’ve seen.
“It’s a love for it and a love for bringing something back to the community. When it comes together, it’s fun that weekend in May, but each one takes their piece of the puzzle and makes it work.”