WEATHERFORD — When COVID-19 had the world turned upside down a year ago, the folks in this part of the world shunned conventional thoughts of isolation and gathered together anyway.
While the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Frontier Days and PRCA Rodeo was delayed by a month, the festivities went on in front of a packed house last year. Organizers and residents combined forces to overpower the negativism that had come with the worldwide pandemic, and a nationally televised audience witnessed what many people thought was impossible in the summer of 2020: Crowds of people enjoying themselves.
Expect the same at this year’s event, which is set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 9 through Saturday, June 12, at the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse Arena; that also includes the Xtreme Bulls competition at 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 8.
“I think we’re going to have another bang-up year,” said Randy O’Neal, chairman of the posse, which organizes the annual rodeo. “I think we’re probably looking at a record-breaking year for everything.”
It’s a trend that’s been going around professional rodeo this season as the world rebounds from the pandemic. People are excited to get out of the house again, and sponsors are willing to support community events. In addition, the contestants are just hoping for opportunities. With some events still being canceled, rodeos like Weatherford are even more attractive to the hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls that will make their way to Parker County.
“I think it’s very important for us to move back to our original dates in early June,” O’Neal said. “There’s a stock show involved with our rodeo, and last year we had to split up. It’s a longstanding tradition, so it’s good that we’re able to have our events together and be able to maintain that.”
As a community event, the posse understands the importance of having the rodeo. That’s why organizers battled through the pandemic to ensure it took place in 2020; on the other side of it, the tradition must continue.
“It’s well received every year,” he said. “Our sponsors are mainly local, and this year they’ve come out bigger than we’ve had in previous years. That’s additional dollars for this event and shows how big the event is for the community.”
That’s because it’s the perfect mix of world-class competition and family-friendly entertainment. The rodeo is produced by Dallas-based Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, and it will also feature the best rodeo has to offer in announcer Andy Stewart and clown/entertainer Justin Rumford. Stewart has more than a dozen nominations for PRCA Announcer of the Year, and Rumford is the reigning nine-time Clown of the Year.
“This will be Justin’s first year here, and those guys are well needed for the production of the rodeo,” O’Neal said. “They help make the transitions from one event to another seamless. You put him with Andy Stewart as an announcer, it just helps us put on a better rodeo. That’s a good team there and will help keep the crowd involved. That makes our show that much better.”
When it’s already good, better must make it magnificent.