By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: May 2013
Matt Bright, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, sets his rigging before his ride at the 2012 Will Rogers Stampede. Bright is one of numerous NFR qualifiers who plan to be in Claremore for the 2013 Stampede, which will be produced by elite stock contractor Carr Pro Rodeo and Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo. Photo by Ted Harbin
The Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo has always been a popular venue for cowboys and cowgirls on their way to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas each year. However, with a change in stock contractors this year, it’s about to get more competitive.
“We’re bringing in Carr Pro Rodeo as our stock contractor and producer,” says David Petty, Will Rogers Stampede committee chair. “Pete Carr has some of the best animals going in rodeo, and he and his crew put on a great show. Fans who have been regulars to our rodeo for decades are going to be very impressed by what they see this year.”
Dallas-based Carr Pro Rodeo, one of the premier stock contracting firms in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, is well known for having the top stock in the sport. Just last season, the top bareback riders in the game selected Carr’s MGM Deuces Night as the top bucking horse in the game, and Carr’s Dirty Jacket placed third in the voting for Bareback Horse of the Year.
The 67th edition of the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo will kick off at 7:45 p.m. Friday, May 24 and run through Sunday, May 26. The three-night event will also include the Timed Event Special, which takes place Thursday evening, May 23. “We’ll have the brightest stars in Pro Rodeo, including world champions like Trevor Brazile, J.W. Harris, Wes Stevenson and hundreds of others who have made the Claremore rodeo the place to test their skills each year for nearly seven decades,” says Petty. “We’ll bring in around 500 contestants to Claremore from all over the country. More than 25 states will be represented with a total prize purse of over $75,000.”
The round-up club is also raising money for charity this year. “We are a non-profit,” says Petty, “and we want to give back to the community that supports us.”
“Tough Enough to Wear Pink” is the theme for Sunday night’s performance with contestants sporting pink attire to bring awareness to and raise money for cancer research. “We plan to donate half the proceeds to Rogers County Relay For Life,” Petty adds.
The other half of the -proceeds will benefit the International FOP Association (IFOPA), a non-profit organization supporting medical research for those afflicted by the rare genetic condition fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). “Two Rogers County individuals, including four-year-old Zip Gordon, suffer from this disease for which there is no cure,” says Petty. “The Meltons (of Melton Dodge) have been a strong supporter of the stampede for years. We want to give back by donating money to research for this rare disease.”
Pink boots will be passed around for donations each night of the rodeo and the final total will be distributed equally between the two charities. For those arriving before 7 p.m. and wearing pink to attend the Sunday night Cowboy Church Service, rodeo admission is free. Sponsored by Rogers County area churches, the service will begin at 6:30. Gates open at 6 p.m.
Lots of family entertainment will be featured at the rodeo. Specialty act The One Arm Bandit & Company is a Wild West show fit for a king, featuring the bandit himself, John Payne. Since 1988, John has entertained rodeo fans around the world. He rides a variety of good horses and a few mules in a truly unique show that also features longhorn steers, buffalo, and sometime dogs. Rodeo Clown Mark Swingler, from Austin, Texas, has been entertaining rodeo fans in the PRCA for the past 11 years, and the Will Rogers Stampede Rodeo will be no exception. Mark’s impromptu barrel routines have long pleased crowds of young and the young at heart.
The Will Rogers rodeo grounds are located a mile and a half east of Highway 66 on Blue Starr Drive. Admission is $12 for adults and $7 for children at the gate. However, adults can save $2 and children $1 by purchasing advance tickets online at www.willrogersstampede.com.
“We couldn’t put on this rodeo,” says Petty, “without the volunteers, the businesses and individuals in our community who sponsor the event. I think a lot of cowboys from around here are going to love the show we put on this year. For those who might live in Tulsa, it doesn’t get any better than a fun time at the rodeo, getting back in touch with their Western roots and enjoying a great weekend of entertainment.”
After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.