Pauls Valley Democrat
One doesn’t have to look very far back to see how important events like the Heritage Days IRPA Rodeo is to many residents throughout Garvin County as it has in many ways helped shaped the physical and cultural landscape when it comes to all things western.
Since the early days when ranchers put their talents on display to see who could rope the best or ride the fastest to an entire season where groups like the Pauls Valley Round Up Club arrange official competitions in each town, there are plenty of reasons for said passions to continue as the local version is set to return for the 68th go-round.
For club Secretary Dessie Daugherty, the excitement is flowing through her veins while she welcomes visitors from far and wide for an experience arriving just a couple of weeks away on June 27-29.
“If you got rodeo in your blood it starts to boil over,” said Daugherty, whose family has been involved in Heritage Days since its creation.
“We really enjoy bringing the spirit of the old west to life.”
Each night the events get going at 8 p.m. in the rodeo grounds located in Wacker Park and features returning favorites like barrel racing, calf scramble and even a little comedy from rodeo clown, Ron “Ice Man” Hunter, said Daugherty.
Of course, that’s only part of the action crowds can get into as they are also invited to watch or even participate in the downtown parade starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 29.
It will be full of floats or people waving and potentially comes with plenty of bragging rights for one select community round up club that can impress judges for the top prize.
There will even be something for all those aspiring wee riders with the mutton bustin’ competition flying out the gates before the main action each evening, said Daugherty. As always there are elimination rounds and a chance for the top 10 to compete in the rodeo.
“That is a big crowd pleaser,” said Daugherty. “The kids get a kick out of it; the parents get a kick out of it.”
However, despite the goal to feel that thrill of victory, Daugherty noted how the competitive drive never overpowers the overall camaraderie and how more friendships are often forged than rivalries. It’s that friendly nature meets adrenaline that anyone can look forward and will be complimented by musical performers, a fully stocked concessions stand and a visit by this year’s Miss Rodeo USA, Lauren Terry.
“I don’t think there’s any animosity between the contestants,” said Daugherty. “There’s not that rivalry, it’s a camaraderie, that’s your rodeo family.”
Daugherty is also putting out a call for rodeo queen candidates since only one has signed up so far. Unmarried contestants between the ages of 14 and 26 qualify through ticket sales, horsemanship and the combined personal interview and appearance with coronation set for June 29.
In the end, Daugherty promises a unique weekend for attendees during all three nights for a price that is comparable to similar events.
“For a family of four it’s a fairly inexpensive form of entertainment,” said Daugherty, noting how they have not raised prices even though they depend on the money made to cover rising costs. “It’s just family fun.”
Tickets in advance are $7 for adults and $3 for children. At the gate tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for kids. For information call the Pauls Valley Round-Up Club at 405-238-2776 or go online to www.paulsvalleyroundupclub.com
Advanced tickets will be sold by rodeo queen candidates, at Daugherty Insurance at 214 South Walnut and any round up club member. To ask about becoming a candidate, call Carrie English at 405-207-4658.