By: Amy Beth Dobbins | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: May 2018
Now in its 72nd year, the Will Rogers Stampede (Stampede) is the 3rd longest running event in Rogers County history. That isn’t the only record the rodeo holds, though. For the last four years, the Stampede has also been voted as PRCA’s top rodeo in its category—No. 1 above 600 other small rodeos! As if that isn’t impressive enough, it is the only PRCA rodeo in Oklahoma to receive the national award three times overall, and the only one to get an award for 4 straight years ever in PRCA history!
Large crowds continue to attend, and the Rodeo Arena Coop, newly formed has been berthed for the mission of improving the grounds to make the annual event even more accessible and enjoyable. Currently there is new fencing and lighting and improvements, such as a new parking lot that are slated to continue into the future.
On Thursday, May 24, at 6 pm a very special dedication of the grounds will take place, renaming it Stampede Park. Especially significant will be the dedication of the Clem McSpadden Memorial commemorating the 10th anniversary of McSpadden’s death and celebrating his life and contributions. During the ceremony, Tommy Wildcat of the Cherokee Nation will bless the grounds.
McSpadden was the grand-nephew of the legendary Will Rogers. He was also a proud citizen and Tribal Councilman of the Cherokee Nation, a WWII veteran and President pro tempore of the Oklahoma Senate. Mention cannot be made of McSpadden’s life however, without the recognition of his incredible contributions to the sport of rodeo. He was a nationally recognized rodeo announcer for ABC’s Wide World of Sports, the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) Star Roping and WRS Radio. McSpadden was also the first American rodeo announcer at the Calgary Stampede. In 1986, he was recognized as the PRCA Announcer of the Year. McSpadden; was also named as the Rodeo Man of the Year by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. Further he was inducted into multiple halls of fame, including: Rodeo Hall of Fame, Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, Oklahoma Hall of Fame, Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, Legends of Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and the Legend in the Bull Riding Hall of Fame. In his honor following the dedication ceremony, the Clem McSpadden Tub-Handle Classic Steer Roping will begin at 7 pm.
Claremore is going country for an entire week to celebrate! Rodeo week will kick off Saturday, May 19 with the Stampede parade hosted by the Reveille Rotary at 2 pm in downtown Claremore. You can enter in one of the many parade categories. Then on Monday, May 21, at City Hall at 6 pm be part of the excitement, as Claremore’s Mayor makes his public proclamation of Rodeo Week. Area businesses will decorate their windows during Rodeo Week to show their support.
The rodeo with around 500 cowboys and cowgirls vying nightly for a chance to take it all will be held on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Tub-Handle Classic Steer Roping, Barrel Racing, Tie-down Roping, Team Roping, Bull Riding, Bronc Riding, and the crowd-pleasing Mutton Bustin’ for the little cowpokes will be on display. All of the action is made possible by the following sponsors: Cherokee Casino-Will Rogers Downs, Mid-Town Rentals, Visit Claremore, RCB Bank, Stillwater Milling, Rodeo Arena Cooperative, BancFirst and Claremore Progress.
So don your best western duds throughout Rodeo Week, and join in the fun y’all!
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