Archive for April, 2013

postheadericon Clown bringing fun to Guymon

Rodeo clown Cody Sosebee performs during a recent rodeo. Sosebee has been recognized as one of the top barrelmen and entertainers in rodeo for several years, and he will bring his to the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo, with performances set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Rodeo clown Cody Sosebee performs during a recent rodeo. Sosebee has been recognized as one of the top barrelmen and entertainers in rodeo for several years, and he will bring his to the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo, with performances set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Cody Sosebee has been recognized as one of the top acts in the PRCA

GUYMON, Okla. – Cody Sosebee has a larger-than-life personality and a gregarious nature that fits well in his extra-large frame.

It’s one of the many reasons he’s one of the preeminent rodeo clowns in the business. From his tight-fitting attire that serves as mockery for his size to his understanding of the sport and all that it encompasses as a form of competition and entertainment, Sosebee reaches an audience like few who make their living wearing greasepaint and making fans laugh.

“Some people see me weigh about 150 pounds more than the guy next to me, but that’s OK,” said Sosebee, who will work his entertaining magic during the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 4; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.

Guymon Pioneer Days Logo“I think a rodeo clown is supposed to be a court jester and is supposed to do things you don’t expect. They’ll get to see me do a front flip or do something acrobatic and high energy, and it surprises the crowd, but it’s my job to keep moving for a solid two hours of a performance.”

He gets that opportunity at some of the biggest rodeos in the country, which is why he’s excited to be part of the Pioneer Days festivities in Texas County.

While modest, Sosebee is already in that category. He’s been in the running for the PRCA’s Clown of the Year and has been recognized as one of the top five barrelmen/funnymen in rodeo.

Why?

“I think I bring a sense of energy to an event, and I try to bring a new level of energy,” he said. “I try to bring a high level of energy to your show. I think rodeo competes with other extreme sports, and I think we’re in a class of entertainment like those.

“When people come to an event, they want to see the level of high energy for the entire two hours they’re there, and that’s what I want to give them.”

What Sosebee provides actually goes beyond high energy. His job as a barrelman is to be a safety valve for others who are in the arena during the bull riding competition, but he’s also a big part of the overall production of the show. He provides a flair for comedy, and he’s pretty good at it.

Rodeo is nothing new to Sosebee. In fact, he grew up in the sport. His father was a pickup man, and his mother was a barrel racer. He admits to living with an alter-ego, where one day he’s on his place in northwest Arkansas and another he is working his “stage” show in front of thousands of fans.

“I just love this,” he said. “I enjoy making the crowd laugh. The times are hard and the economy’s rough, and we’ve got people who are paying a price for the ticket; I want them to come and be entertained, and I want them to forget whatever troubles they’re having for that two hours.”

postheadericon Fans get a great show in Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT, Texas – Fans deserve the best, and the volunteers that produce the annual Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo know that well.

Two-time world champion Kaycee Feild rides one of Pete Carr's bareback horses during a rodeo last season. Carr owns Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr's Classic Pro Rodeo, and his animals will be featured during the Bridgeport Stage Days PRCA Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. May 10-11 at the Bridgeport Riding Club Arena. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

Two-time world champion Kaycee Feild rides one of Pete Carr’s bareback horses during a rodeo last season. Carr owns Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, and his animals will be featured during the Bridgeport Stage Days PRCA Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. May 10-11 at the Bridgeport Riding Club Arena. (ROBBY FREEMAN PHOTO)

“We’ve got great rodeo fans in this area, and we want them to keep coming back to our rodeo every year,” said Loydd Williams, chairman of the festival’s rodeo committee. “We also want them to tell their friends about the rodeo we have. I think everyone has been pleased with what they see.”

The rodeo is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11, at Bridgeport Riding Club Arena and will feature the top contestants in the game. It also will host some of the greatest animal athletes seen in ProRodeo, from great timed-event horses to tremendous bucking beasts.

“Probably our biggest change is that our stock contractor has expanded quite a bit,” Williams said of Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo. Its owner, Pete Carr, just completed purchase of Classic Pro Rodeo, a Waskom, Texas-based livestock firm that has been part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for about 20 years. “Pete was already one of the best contractors in rodeo. Now he’s bigger and better than he was a year ago.”

That should be a boon for rodeo fans in Wise County and north Texas, but there’s much more to the entire entertainment package.

“We’re bringing in Real Screen Video to provide the scoreboard and the replays for our rodeo,” Williams said. “Rick Sallee and his people do some of the biggest rodeos in the country, like Fort Worth and the NFR. With them handling the replays and commercials for our sponsors, we’ll be able to really showcase our rodeo to the fans.”

That’s important. Like any sporting event, a video board comes in quite handy with showing replays of the action, but it also serves as a tremendous marketing tool for potential sponsors. It also can be a place to showcase a community celebration like Butterfield Stage Days.

Of course, it’s just another aspect of providing top-level entertainment for fans that come to enjoy the world-class athletes that make the sport. Also in the mix will be entertainer John Harrison, who will provide comic relief throughout the two performances of the rodeo while also showcasing his award-winning talents.

“We, as a committee, are looking forward to working with John this year,” Williams said. “As someone who has been around rodeo for so many years and knowing the history of the game, it’s good to know John is carrying on a family tradition. His grandfather was Freckles Brown, who won the bull riding world title and is still a legend in rodeo.”

While the competition will be the featured part of the performances, the flavor will be enhanced by announcer Charlie Throckmorton, who has been one of the best in the business for a number of, and Benje Bendele, the premier sound technician in rodeo. Throckmorton has worked as arena announcer at the National Finals Steer Roping many years, and Bendele produces the music and sound at the largest events in the sport, including the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

“I think we’ve got the best crew in the sport, and I think the fans will see a difference in our rodeo from any other they’re going to go to this year,” Williams said. “It’s going to be a very good rodeo.”

postheadericon Allen takes all-around title in Hays

ALVA, Okla. – In her relatively young lifetime, Alexis Allen has seen great success.

Last year, her freshman season on the Northwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo team, the Alva cowgirl experienced a bit of failure. It was demoralizing. It was frustrating.

It was motivation.

“I just want to make it to the college finals,” said Allen, who won the women’s all-around championship last weekend at the Fort Hays (Kan.) State University rodeo, placing second in barrel racing and fourth in breakaway roping. “I barely missed going last year. I made all three years of the National Junior High Finals and all four years of the National High School Finals, but I had to sit out last year.

Alexis Allen

Alexis Allen

“I didn’t like it.”

Allen has accumulated 498 points in barrel racing this season and sits second in the Central Plains Region standings, just 52 points behind Ceri McCaffery of Southwestern Oklahoma State University. While the top three in the final region standings, there are a couple of cowgirls on that tandem’s heels: Southwestern’s Emily Rose, third with 485 points, and Tanya Steinhoff of Pratt (Kan.) Community College, 470.

Now they’ll race to the finish at the final rodeo of the 10-event season from Thursday-Saturday at the Oklahoma Panhandle State University rodeo in Guymon, Okla.

“Hopefully I can be consistent in this last rodeo,” said Allen, who finished second at Panhandle State last spring, runner-up to McCaffery.

While the overall goal is to qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo – set for June 9-15 in Casper, Wyo. – Allen is well within reach of winning the region’s barrel racing championship. She’ll settle for a strong finish and a return to a national championship event, but Allen knows her finish in Hays set her up for grand opportunities.

“It’s exciting to win the all-around in Hays,” she said. “I barely missed out on a buckle last weekend. Winning one this weekend helps a lot.

“It would’ve been nice to catch my calf in the short-go and win the breakaway roping, but I’m in a good position in barrel racing, so it’s OK.”

Allen rode Superman, an 8-year-old bay gelding, twice around the cloverleaf pattern for a cumulative time of 33.24 seconds, just behind Southwestern’s Dusta Kimzey. For her two-event finish, Allen finished with 205 points, which moved the Northwestern into a third-place team finish in Hays. The Rangers women remain No. 2 in the region standings – only the top two schools qualify their teams to the college finals.

“We’ve really hooked it up this semester,” Allen said. “Hopefully we can pull it off and win in Guymon this weekend. We’ve always been in the shadows of the men’s team, so this is an important step for us.

“For some reason, everybody’s just picking up their game and being consistent.”

Allen was one of several Rangers who placed in Hays, joining Trisha Price of Faith, S.D., who placed second in goat tying; barrel racers Liza Ingram of Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (sixth) and Kelsey Pontius of Watertown, Pa. (tied for seventh); heelers Wade Wilson of Laverne, Okla. (fourth), Wade Perry of Lamont, Okla. (fifth) and Chase Boekhaus of Rolla, Kan. (sixth); headers Karly Kile of Topeka, Kan. (third) and Bradley Bullock of McAlpin, Fla. (sixth); and tie-down ropers Ryan Domer of Topeka (second), Travis Cowan of Highmore, S.D. (sixth) and Chase Lako of Hunter, N.D. (tied for seventh).

There are several Northwestern contestants who are still in the running to qualify for the college finals, but they’ll need all the help they can get beginning Thursday. It’s further proof the Central Plains is one of the most competitive in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.

“I think competing in our region helps us when we get to the college finals,” Allen said. “There are a bunch of girls here that are extremely tough. We’ve been able to compete with Southwestern this year; if we can compete with Southwestern, then we can hold our own in Casper.”

postheadericon Erickson was a torch-bearer

Dwayne Erickson was a longtime rodeo writer for the Calgary Herald. He died Monday after a battle with cancer. (CALGARY HERALD PHOTO)

Dwayne Erickson was a longtime rodeo writer for the Calgary Herald. He died Monday after a battle with cancer. (CALGARY HERALD PHOTO)

The e-mail that came today brought the news I’d been expecting.

Still, I’m saddened by the death a rodeo legend, author Dwayne Erickson who penned thousands of articles for the Calgary (Alberta) Herald and shared the exploits of Canada’s champions for millions of readers over a storied career. If there was a story that needed to be written a Canadian cowboy or cowgirl, Erickson surely was the person who needed to write it.

Erickson died Monday after a battle with cancer. I’d learned about his fight just 11 days ago, when another Canadian colleague, Ted Stovin, called to share the news. Dwayne was a fixture in rodeo, and every Canadian who had ever qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo knew it was their duty to march to the media room as soon as they finished their ride or run, where they’d sit and answer his questions each night.

Whether it was Rod Hay or Glen O’Neill, Curtis Cassidy or Lee Graves, they would make sure to have that one-on-one time with Erickson, who, for years, smoked and drank beer as he worked in the NFR media room. He was one of the last holdouts when the media room became smoke-free.

The last time he covered the NFR was in 2010, my first year to ever be in Las Vegas for all 10 nights of ProRodeo’s championship event. Toward the end of the run, Dwayne motioned me over to his area, and I took the seat next to him typically reserved for Canadians.

“You ever thought about moving to Calgary?” he asked.

Well … not really, I responded.

“Well, my time’s about done,” he said in that matter-of-fact manner for which was his calling card. “I’m not going to be around this Earth for very much (expletive) longer. Hell, it might be pretty (expletive) soon, and we need good rodeo writers in Calgary, and we need someone who knows rodeo.”

That was a flattering offer from one of the sport’s most significant voices. He was a two-time winner of the PRCA Media Award for Excellence in Print Journalism, in 2003 and 2012.

Most importantly, he was a torch-bearer for millions of rodeo fans in Alberta and the rest of North America, and he should be remembered as such.

postheadericon Locals love competing in Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT, Texas – For most associated with the sport, the hometown rodeo is a chance to compete in front of family.

It’s a wonderful benefit to the band of gypsies that make a living on the rodeo trail. You see, rodeo cowboys and cowgirls travel more than 100,000 miles a year plying their trade. They ride, rope, wrestle and race for paychecks, whether the competitions are in Pendleton, Ore., or Arcadia, Fla.

Trevor Brazile

Trevor Brazile

The Coopers and Braziles are different than most. When they show up to compete, it is a family reunion. Clint, Clif and Tuf Cooper are brothers who live in Decatur, Texas, just a stone’s throw from the Butterfield Stage Days PRCA Rodeo in Bridgeport. Clif and Tuf’s half-sister is Shada Brazile, one of the top barrel racers in 2013 and the wife of 17-time world champion Trevor Brazile. They live near Decatur, too.

Nonetheless, they’re excited to return home for the Bridgeport rodeo, which will have performances at 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, May 10-11, at Bridgeport Riding Club Arena.

“Every year I’ve had my card, I’ve been to that rodeo,” said Tuf Cooper, the two-time reigning world champion tie-down roper and one of three sons born to eight-time world champion Roy Cooper. “For me, everybody in my family is at every rodeo we go to, but Bridgeport is a great spot. For a lot of my friends who don’t get to see me rope, it’s easy access for them to watch me rope. I’ll get a lot of my friends there, where they don’t get to see me very often.”

Tuf Cooper

Tuf Cooper

Butterfield Stage Days is a local celebration for many of ProRodeo’s greatest stars. In addition to the Braziles and Coopers, Wise County is home to National Finals Steer Roping qualifiers Will Gasperson of Decatur and Jarrett Blessing of Paradise. It’s also in proximity to bareback rider Matt Bright, a three-time NFR qualifier from Azle, Texas, and saddle bronc rider Bradley Harter, a seven-time NFR qualifier from Weatherford, Texas.

“I like that rodeo because it’s the closest ProRodeo to our hometown, and the people of Brideport are so welcoming and try so hard there,” said Shada Brazile, one of the top 10 barrel racers in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association the end of March. “They usually have really great ground, which is always a plus in my event.

“When you’re this close to home, your horses are more rested, and you’re more rested. We travel just 15 minutes to get to the rodeo. That never happens.”

Shada Brazile

Shada Brazile

Bridgeport is a vital rodeo for Trevor Brazile. It’s one of the few rodeos in this area that allows him the opportunity to compete in all three of his events. He is one of two men who have qualified for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s National Finals in all four roping disciplines, joining Dale Smith in making it in heading, heeling, tie-down roping and steer roping. In addition to his 10 all-around gold buckles, Trevor Brazile owns one heading, three steer roping and three tie-down roping world titles.

“That makes Bridgeport even more important to Trevor because he is able to go in all three events,” Shada Brazile said. “The time of the year is really good for us. We’ve been gone, and we’re home that time of year anyway. It’s a great run right before we have to get ready for the summer.”

Unlike all-around talent Trevor Brazile, Blessing and Gasperson focus on steer roping. Both have qualified for the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping three times, so they know what it means to be among the elite in their chosen profession. They also know what it means to compete at their hometown rodeo.

“Being closer to home is always better,” said Gasperson, who qualified for the finals in 2003, ’08 and ’11. “Anytime we can get a rodeo in this area that has steer roping, it brings in a lot more contestants. It’s a lot better for us, because we don’t have the fuel expense.

“Bridgeport the last three years has gotten to be a good rodeo, especially for that time of year. For us that are from around here, you’re going to draw y our family and friends, which is going to make the rodeo bigger. I think that’s going to make the rodeo that much better.”

Blessing, a teacher at McCarroll Middle School in Decatur, adores the idea of traveling just seven miles to compete.

“It’s huge,” said Blessing, who qualified for the NFSR in 2002, ’05 and ’07. “I’m really glad the people in Bridgeport have a ProRodeo and steer roping. For steer ropers, we’ll have to travel all over the country to just compete, and we don’t have a lot of real close ones. It’s nice that they can have steer roping in Bridgeport. There are a lot of guys in this area that compete in that.”

Blessing is ranked among the top 10, and he’d love to stay there in order to compete in the finale in November. That’s a tough road to travel, especially considering he has a full-time job in the Decatur Independent School District.

“I need to have the year I’m having right now,” he said. “This year’s been really good, and my horse is working really good. I’ve only been to four rodeos, but I’ve won money at all four of them.”

The key in rodeo is to take advantage of situations as they arise. While cowboys and cowgirls pay a fee in order to compete at every rodeo, only the very best walk away from the arena with money.

“I think it’s great that people from so close to home will get together and have a good rodeo for us cowboys to make some money,” Tuf Cooper said. “When they do that for us, it makes it a good rodeo for the fans.”

postheadericon Passion brings Bridgeport rodeo to form

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.”

postheadericon Young scores win for Rangers

ALVA, Okla. – It’s been a while since Trey Young was in the winner’s circle at a Central Plains Region event.

That changed last weekend when the Northwestern Oklahoma State University cowboy won the tie-down roping title at the Southwestern Oklahoma State University rodeo in Weatherford. Young roped and tied two calves in 19.9 seconds, edging Oklahoma Panhandle State University’s Caleb Bullock by one-tenth of a second to claim the title.

Trey Young

Trey Young

Young, of Dupree, S.D., hadn’t been atop the leaderboard since February 2012. But it’s an important step for the young cowboy with just two rodeos remaining this season – the university’s men’s and women’s rodeo teams compete at the Fort Hays (Kan.) State University rodeo this weekend, then will perform at the Panhandle State rodeo next week to conclude this season’s campaign.

That means there will be much scrambling to gain important points in order to qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo, set for June in Casper, Wyo. Only the top two teams in the region qualify full squads for the finals, while the top four in each event earn the right to compete for the most coveted prizes in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.

For his part, Young earned 120 points by winning in Weatherford. He sits seventh in the region standings; he’s on the outside looking it, but he has a chance to move into the top four with a fantastic finish. He wasn’t the only Northwestern cowboy to earn valuable points, joining fellow tie-down roper Ryan Domer of Topeka, Kan., who finished sixth; steer wrestler Tee Hale of White Owl, S.D., fourth; and heeler Dustin Searcy of Mooreland, Okla., second.

Searcy is another Ranger cowboy who is in contention to qualify for the college finals, sitting fifth in the heeling standings. But he’ll need to take care of business over the next two weekends in order to be one of the qualifiers.

The Rangers women fared a little better than the men in Weatherford. The women’s team finished second to Southwestern, powered by barrel racers Alexis Allen of Alva, who placed second, and Micah Samples of Abilene, Kan., who finished third. Goat-tier Karley Kile of Topeka finished seventh.

Allen sits fourth in the region barrel racing standings, while Samples is fifth. Kile is fourth among regional goat tiers, while breakaway roper Jessica Koppitz of Alva is No. 1.

postheadericon There are 952 reasons to enjoy Guymon

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.

Guymon Pioneer Days LogoMy 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.

postheadericon Rodeo stands on concessions’ success

GUYMON, Okla. – Some jobs just seem thankless, yet they still need to be done.

Welcome to the world of Danna Danner, Kristina Rodman and Heather Hoeffner. Danner and Rodman are in charge of concessions, while Hoeffner is in charge of the hospitality during the weeklong celebration that is the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, set for Monday, April 29-Sunday, May 5 at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.

From organizing to ordering to planning the schedules of the other volunteers, it all falls on those three ladies.

“It’s a drug for me,” Rodman said. “I get a high from the adrenaline rush we get when we bust our butts. It’s just fun to run non-stop. The next week we’re about to die, but we do enjoy running like crazy that week.”

Guymon Pioneer Days LogoThey must. Concessions are a valuable piece of the puzzle for any event. Fans who come to take in a show want refreshments. Oftentimes, it’s where they eat as a family as they enjoy their time in the stands. At a rodeo, the need for concessions increases because the competitors also are part of the crowd.

“I like being part of it and putting something back into the community,” said Danner, who became a member of the volunteer committee five years ago, then talked Rodman into joining her. “I just love it, and I love volunteering. It’s a rush to meet the deadlines.”

Their task is one of the most valuable assignments, too. The committee purchases all the food and drinks that they expect to serve over the seven days of competition, which is highlighted by the four performances set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The profit is mixed with ticket sales and sponsorship money to pay all the expenses it takes to produce an event of this magnitude in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

“Danna and Kristina do an amazing job with the concessions, because it takes so much to make it work every year,” said Earl Helm, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the rodeo. “We have a lot of committee members and volunteers who put in countless hours to make our rodeo work, and I appreciate all of them and what they do.

“The concessions are so vital to our rodeo, and so are Danna and Kristina.”

Rodman and Danner are the spark plugs that run the engine, but there are numerous parts. There are two others who have stepped into leadership roles on the concessions sub-committee, and there are numerous others who make the machine click during rodeo week.

“To run a concession, we have to have 23 people to volunteer throughout the community,” Danner said. “The OPSU football players help us a lot.”

The help is necessary and appreciated. The rodeo is part of the community’s annual celebration, Pioneer Days, and serves as the largest event in the Oklahoma Panhandle with an economic impact of about $2 million. In addition to the thousands of fans who come to see the family-friendly entertainment, Guymon is home to nearly 1,000 cowboys and cowgirls who are coming to the region to compete at Oklahoma’s Richest Rodeo.

“We make a lot of money for the committee to help put this thing on,” Rodman said. “It’s very awesome to see our progress. I like knowing we can turn something around and make it successful. I like that we gave it a better name; it makes me proud when the other committee members tell us how well we’re doing and they’re scared that we’ll ever quit.

“That tells me we’re doing a good job, and that’s important to me.”

It’s important to the community, too.

“This is our 81st year as a rodeo, and as far as a community event, it helps with businesses,” Danner said. “We’ll have people hitting the stores, the gas stations, the restaurants because there are so many people in town.

“Pioneer Days has been here so long, it’s just part of Guymon. I can’t imagine the community without it. It’s important to me just being able to be part of it and knowing I’ve contributed to our community. We work our butts off, but that’s what makes us tick.”

The hospitality area is set up for contestants, personnel and sponsors who make the rodeo what it is, and Guymon’s has regularly been recognized by contestants as one of the best events in ProRodeo.

“I think people appreciate the hard work that we do to prepare everything,” said Hoeffner, who works closely with her husband, Ed, and Lanny and Vicki Wilson on the hospitality. “Every person that we talked to last year knew how much work went into it. They saw the hard work and the smiling faces that are serving them food.”

The Hoeffners and Wilsons brought a flavor of home to the metal-covered building. Though generous restaurant sponsors donated food, the personal touch was a hit with the contestants, families and friends of the rodeo.

“We wanted to change it to where it was home-cooked and where they could sit down and enjoy,” Heather Hoeffner said. “We probably have six to eight people that helped every night every year, but we have all kinds of other volunteers from the community that help with other things.

“We just want the people coming in to really enjoy themselves, and we work hard to make that happen.”

That’s what volunteering is all about.

postheadericon Open roping coming to Guymon

Guymon Pioneer Days LogoThe Open Team Roping is just one of the great events taking place in conjunction with this year’s Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Roping. The first 120 teams must enter by noon Wednesday, May 1. Entry fees are $300 per team, and each cowboy can enter twice; it is a three-head progressive. The competition will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at Hitch Arena.

The annual Classic Events Championship will follow, featuring 10 cowboys that will compete in steer roping and saddle bronc riding. A free calf, fish and hamburger fry for contestants and sponsors will take place Wednesday evening. Tough Enough to Wear Pink night is Friday, May 3. We’ll have the best bucking stock from Carr Pro Rodeo, Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo, Korkow Rodeos and Powder River Rodeo.

Bring your family for a week-long celebration and fun.

Our Partners

RodeoMediaRelations

4BWebDesign

EverythingCowboy

Photos

twisTEDrodeoPhotos