Since 1947, the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA has been a favorite for rodeo fans, roping in audiences every year with its cowboys, competitions and other crowd-pleasing events.
So favored is the Claremore-based rodeo that its recognition extends well beyond Oklahoma, and at the recent awards banquet held in Las Vegas, Nevada, the rodeo was selected as the 2021 Small Rodeo of the Year by both the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and the Women’s Rodeo Association (WRPA).
Although this was the first time for the rodeo to receive WRPA honors, this selection marks the sixth time that the Will Rogers Stampede has been named Small Rodeo of the Year by the PRCA, edging out other rodeo city finalists from across the country, including Coulee City, Washington, Aberdeen, South Dakota, Abbyville, Kansas and Yuma, Colorado
“This is our sixth win – six out of seven nominations, and it’s quite an honor to be recognized as a top-five rodeo by two fine organizations – the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Rodeo Association – in the same year,” said David Petty, Rodeo Chairman and Vice-Chair of the Rodeo Arena Cooperative. “Getting recognized by both contestants and our (rodeo) peers should be and is a tremendous source of pride, not just for me as the rodeo chairman, but for the entire community, for Claremore and really, the state.”
Describing the sixth win (out of seven nominations) as “unprecedented,” Petty nonetheless said, knowing all the people and the work that goes into making the event a success, he’s not surprised.
Rogers County Commissioner Dan DeLozier (from left), David Petty, Rodeo Chairman, Tanya Andrews, VisitClaremore, and Claremore City Manager John Feary were all smiles when the Will Rogers Stampede Rodeo was named Small Rodeo of the Year.
“For one thing, we’re equal money in all of our events, straight across the board – that helps with the contestants,” he said. “They (the contestants) always appreciate that – that we’re not singling out certain events – adding more money – than others, which I think everyone always appreciates.
“We do feature our steer roping event – Claremore is traditionally a steer-roping rodeo – and the event itself is something that everyone involved takes pride in,” he said. “Contestant hospitality and community support is second-to-none, there have been several improvements to have taken place at the new Stamped Park, and we’ve been fortunate to have sponsors to support (the rodeo) for the past 75 years. We wouldn’t have been able to produce the quality rodeo we have without our volunteers and supporters.”
VisitClaremore Executive Director Tanya Andrews concurs.
“Because the nomination and voting comes from the contestants that means that the (rodeo) contestants want to come here and compete because of the stock, the hospitality, the community, etc. – that’s what makes this win – these wins – so special,” Andrews said. “It’s not that people uninvolved are the ones nominating us and voting on best rodeo of our size, it’s actually coming from the people who are coming here to compete.”
Like Petty, Andrews credits much of the rodeo’s continued success to its supporters.
Will Rogers Stampede Rodeo Committee members and PRCA contractors share in the victory, as the Claremore-based rodeo recently earned its sixth distinction from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association as “Small Rodeo of the Year.”
“We have the best people,” she said. “Last year, our 75th year, we had several new volunteers who jumped in to make the rodeo special. We had a lot of great acts for our 75th year, and the community kicked the rodeo off with a new golf tournament called ‘Cowboys For Kids’, which was a partnership with Rogers County Youth Services, we were a part of Food Truck Thursday, and we had several events that happened at the rodeo, including some post-rodeo concerts performed by local artisans – it was very much an event that connected with the community.”
Drawing 745 contestants and an estimated 15,000 spectators, the 2021 rodeo was held May 27-30, at Stampede Park, and the rodeo is traditionally held over Memorial weekend.
Started in 1946, the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo joined the PRCA in 1947. The rodeo is a partnership of the City of Claremore, the Board of County Commissioners for Rogers County and the Will Rogers Round Up Club.
More information about the 2022 rodeo can be found at www.visitclaremore.org or www.willrogersstampede.com