The Fourth of July is a little more than a week away and officials are gearing up for a day packed full of community events to celebrate the 74th annual Frontier Days Rodeo as well as Independence Day.
Parker County Sheriff’s Posse member Larry Walden revealed the details for the Frontier Days Celebration and Street Dance at Tuesday’s Weatherford city council meeting. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Walden said they almost weren’t able to host any of the events this year.
“We’ve got actually three events and it’s going to start with breakfast [July 4] at Heritage Park at the log cabins in Millsap. It will be free breakfast and everybody is invited,” Walden said. “They’ll have breakfast until they run out of food and that’s put on by the Millsap Historical Society and literally everybody is invited, so please come.”
The breakfast will begin at 6:15 a.m. followed by the cattle drive at 8 a.m. starting in downtown Millsap.
“We come up Old Millsap Road, we take a break after about four miles, then we’ll move up Greenwood Road and arrive at the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse about 9 a.m., and we’ll have a barbecue lunch,” Walden said.
At 5:30 p.m. on July 4, the rodeo parade will kick off in Weatherford. The parade will begin at the Weatherford ISD Ninth Grade Center, move up Main Street, go around the Parker County Courthouse and down Waco Street.
“The time — with the permission of everybody involved — we’re going to drive cattle to begin the parade and so we’re going to bring cattle to town. We want to make this a really big event for the city of Weatherford and Parker County,” Walden said. “So we’re going to drive cattle, they’ll lead the parade, and we’ll drive them up North Main [Street], pin them there and haul them back. Everybody is invited to participate in the parade, everybody is invited to be a spectator, it’s going to be a big event and this is the first annual parade with cattle in it.”
The Street Dance event will start at 8 p.m. and go on until midnight in the northwest quadrant of the downtown square featuring the Rowdy Decker Band.
“We did these events in conjunction with the city manager and the mayor so we would not step on each other’s toes and we feel comfortable that we will have two events that night — Spark in the Park and our activities — at the same time and not split the crowd,” Walden said. “We’re excited because people are ready to go do something and we know that this is going to be a great event and generate lots of income for the city of Weatherford and for Parker County.”
Spark in the Park
The city of Weatherford’s Spark in the Park event will kick off at 6:30 p.m. on July 4 in Heritage Park.
“This will be a great day of community activity, which is what we’re really proud of — it gets our community back out and enjoying some activities and family fun,” Weatherford’s Director of Parks, Recreation and Special Events Shannon Goodman said. “We’re going to kick off with Giovannie and The Hired Guns — that will be our first band playing. That will be followed by Jack Ingram and he will wrap up sometime around 9:15-9:30 p.m. and we’ll do the National Anthem. The sometime around dark-fall, we are going to do a 40-minute fireworks show. I’ve been told by the firework company that we have the second largest fireworks show in North Texas, only behind Addison’s Kaboom Town, so we’re excited about what we have to offer this year in our fireworks. We’ve stepped it up a little bit and it’s going to be a bigger and better show than we’ve ever had.”
With social distancing still taking place amid the pandemic, Goodman said the fireworks will be viewable from parking lots all around Weatherford.
“You’ve got a lot of opportunities to view this show,” Goodman said. “Chuck FM, our local radio station, will be playing our soundtrack along with those fireworks, so if you don’t want to be on the grounds and you want to hear it somewhere else in Parker County, you kick on that radio station and you’ll be able to follow along with everybody at the grounds.”
Because the event will be a drive-in style, Weatherford Mayor Paul Paschall said he hopes this will allow those who don’t feel comfortable going out at this time, to come enjoy the show.
“This year’s Spark in the Park is an opportunity for those who maybe are a little more reluctant to be in crowds or maybe more at risk,” Paschall said. “They’re going to be able to see these fireworks from a long ways away, so this is a great opportunity for our community and our county to enjoy this.”
PCSP Frontier Days Rodeo
The Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Frontier Days Rodeo will run from July 7-11 featuring a variety of events, some being offered for free.
“We don’t know our numbers yet on how many are going to be in the rodeo, but we understand it’s going to be huge this year as far as participants,” PCSP Director Joe Harris said. “We’ll start off at 8 a.m. [July 7] with what we call timed event slack. That is free for anybody that wants to come and watch and it will go until we’re finished or until we have to start that night with the extreme bull riding. We added that event in 2016 and it’s similar to what a lot of people would refer to as the PBR, but this is the PRCA Xtreme Bulls on Tuesday night, so that will kick off at 7:30 p.m.”
July 8 will be the first night of the PRCA Rodeo and will feature bull riding, saddle bronc, bareback, barrel racing, steer wrestling, team roping and tie down roping, Harris said.
“On Thursday morning, we’ll have steer roping starting at 7 a.m. — that event is free for anybody that wants to come and watch,” Harris said. “Thursday night we’ll have our second rodeo performance and that’s the night we have the Tuff Enough to Wear Pink night — the posse will change their white shirts to pink shirts and a portion of our gate take will go to local cancer funding that we participate in. We’ve done this for many years and we’re honored to be able to do it.”
The third night of rodeo events will be July 10 followed by a barrel racing slack event the morning of July 11 and the final night of the rodeo.
“Saturday morning we’ll have the barrel racing slack event and we understand right now there may be 150 barrel racers showing up, so our parking lots are going to be full and there’s going to be a lot of people participating,” Harris said. “Then Saturday evening, we’ll have our fourth and final night of the rodeo and we expect that to be a huge rodeo. I will tell you right now our plans on Friday night and Saturday night are to have Dana Bowman parachute into the arena. If you’ve never seen Dana parachute in, it is an event to see.
“We look forward to a great rodeo, we look forward to a full house and we’re excited about it.”
Walden wanted to thank the Weatherford Noon Lions Club for running the concession stand during the rodeo events.
“When you look at the amount of work that it takes to put on and event like this, our concessions are a big part of that,” Walden said. “We appreciate it because we know how much work is involved in that from doing it in other times of the year.”
Money raised from ticket sales are donated to a variety of charities by the PCSP, Walden said.
“We are a community organization, our purpose is to preserve the western heritage of our Parker County residents and that’s why we’re here,” Walden said. “In addition to that, our responsibility is to give to the charities that need us, so we do that.”
Pascall said the PCSP is one reason why Parker County is so special.
“The Parker County Sheriff’s Posse is one of the many things that makes Weatherford and Parker County special and we appreciate the heritage and the hospitality that [the PCSP] offers,” Paschall said.
For more information about Frontier Days events visit pcsp.net or the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Facebook page, and for more information about Spark in the Park, visit Experience Weatherford at www.experienceweatherford.com.