BRIDGEPORT, Texas – Home has a special connotation to anyone who has felt that bond.
It’s not just a structure. It’s comfort, friendships and family. It’s the local flair.
Nobody realizes that more than Loydd Williams, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo, a major piece of the community’s Butterfield Stage Days weekend. He wants as many people as possible to see why he loves his hometown and why the annual celebration is so important to him.
“What we strive to do is bring people to the community with the rodeo and festivals that are downtown,” said Williams, who has been involved in Butterfield Stage Days for several years. “We want to draw people to town, not just rodeo contestants. We want everyone in Wise County to come to town and see just why we love it here.”
Williams shares his passion for Bridgeport just about anywhere he goes. His work allows him the opportunity to travel, and he gladly tells anyone who will listen about home, the festival and the rodeo.
“We have a lot of good things going on here,” he said. “As far as the rodeo, we have a lot of local talent. Everybody knows who Trevor Brazile is and who Tuf and the Coopers are, but we have a lot of other great cowboys and cowgirls in our area. In my book, they’re all just as good as anybody out there.”
The rodeo – set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11 at Bridgeport Riding Club Arena – brings in contestants and fans from 30 states and two countries. Add the festival to the mix, and there are grand opportunities for visitors when they arrive the second weekend in May.
“From a commercial standpoint, Butterfield Stage Days brings many people to the community who, in turn, spend their money on fuel, hotels, shopping, the rodeo, etc.,” said Susan Miller, one of the celebration organizers. “The tax dollars raised from this event are awesome for the chamber and the city of Bridgeport.”
Those are just a few of the benefits of Butterfield Stage Days. But the community actually reaps further rewards.
“This one weekend event benefits several organizations,” Miller said. “The festival raises money for the chamber, the stick horse race raises money for Main Street, the rodeo raises money for the riding club and the chamber, the concession stand at the rodeo raises thousands for the Bridgeport Lions Club, which, in turn, buys glasses and eye exams for people of Bridgeport – women and children from the Women’s Shelter.
“The local Cross Timbers Aggie Club parks cars at the rodeo that raises money for its scholarships. They then give a scholarship in that amount to a deserving graduating senior.”
In essence, Butterfield Stage Days is more than an event, more than a celebration. It’s an important part of the fabric that is woven all across Wise County and north Texas.