By: Tom Fink | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: May 2019
2018 Inaugural Clem McSpadden Tub-Handle Classic Steer Roping.
Since 1947, the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo has roped in audiences with its cowboys, competitions and crowd-pleasing events.
Now entering its 73rd year, the small but strong local rodeo shows no signs of slowing down as cowboys and cowgirls alike prepare for its return to the Stampede Park in Claremore.
“Rodeos are part of our state’s history, part of our heritage – it’s a hometown sport for us, like the NFL or NASCAR,” said Tanya Andrews, director, VisitClaremore. “Rodeos are a tradition that’s been handed down and carried on through the years, through generations. I think small rodeos like the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo are a good example of that, and it goes without saying that the rodeo wouldn’t have lasted for so long without so much support from the community.”
A five-time PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) winner of Small Rodeo of the Year, the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo 2019 will be bringing back all of the old favorites, as well as adding a few new ones for the crowd to enjoy.
Cody Cavanaugh with WI-FMX (Wisconsin Freestyle Motocross) will be making his first appearance at the rodeo in Claremore this year.
“Events returning to the rodeo this year will be the usual -- bull-riding, of course, bronc riding, team roping, barrel racing and for the younger competitors, ‘mutton busting,’ with a mutton busting qualifier for the first time at this year’s rodeo,” Andrews said. “This will also be the second year that the rodeo is going to have Clem McSpadden Tub-Handle Classic
Steer Roping Thursday night. We started that (event) last year, to great success, so we’re bringing it back again this year.”
In addition to his career in Oklahoma politics, Rogers County native Clem McSpadden was involved in rodeos throughout the U.S., including the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas and the Calgary Stampede, as well as being credited with the discovery of country and western star Reba McEntire.
“One thing that’s unique to our rodeo is that it’s where world-known rodeo announcer Clem McSpadden got his start,” Andrews said. “Clem helped to bring national attention and interest to our rodeo, as well as being from the area, so in a way, we’re carrying on something that he helped to grow in popularity. Ours may be a small rodeo, but it continues to grow every year, and it’s centrally located on the rodeo circuit. It’s where many of the contestants choose to come when they’re ‘routing’ their appearances – many (contestants) come back every year because it’s a high-quality rodeo, at which the contestants advance well in their points and wins as they make their way to the national competition.
“Last year, we had a record number of contestants – more than 610, which is a lot for a rodeo of our size,” she said.
In addition to event competitions, entertainment this year will be provided by Tomas Garcillazo.
“Tomas is a traditional charro, rope artist, and horseman and he always performs with his wife, and his young son, ‘Little Louie,’ who will also be performing some tricks of his own,” Andrews said. “He’s performed in Claremore in the past, but this will be his first time back in several years.”
Also scheduled to entertain the crowd will be Cody Cavanaugh with WI-FMX (Wisconsin Freestyle Motocross), who will provide ramp-building demonstrations, as well as professional freestyle motocross (FMX) demonstrations, fully mobile FMX take off and landings, fully mobile quad (four-wheeled dirt bike) take off and landings, and more.
The Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo 2019 sponsors include Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs, Midtown Rentals, VisitClaremore, Cherokee Data Solutions, MoreClaremore, Melton Sales, BancFirst, RCB Bank, Stillwater Milling, Ingersol Ranch and Dixon Flowers Rope Horses
Advance tickets may be purchased online for $15 (for adults), $7 for children, or $40 for a 4-pack, which includes two adults and two children. Tickets also may be purchased locally at RCB Bank, Stillwater Milling, Midtown Rentals and BancFirst in Claremore.
The Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo 2019 begins at 7 p.m. nightly Thursday, May 23 and continues through Sunday, May 26, at Stampede Park on East Blue Starr Drive in Claremore.
More information can be found at www.visitclaremore.org or to order tickets online visit https://www.rodeoticket.com//will-rogers-stampede/rodeo-information.
VisitClaremore director Tanya Andrews with a rendering of Stampede Park, where the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo will be returning this year.
Cody Sosebee, official Rodeo Clown and Barrel Man.