Forty years of tradition stand strong in the Cowboy Capital of the World as professional rodeo athletes converge in Stephenville to continue the legacy Thursday through Saturday.

When a cause is believed in, people rally to support their interests and new organizations and hopes for the future are born. So goes it with the Cowboy Capital of the World ProRodeo. As the Rodeo Cowboys Association evolved into the current Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the Cowboy Capital of the World ProRodeo came into existence. Formed as many rodeo committees are, Erath county residents who possessed a love for the sport and some with the professional background as former competitors brought the professional rodeo to life, hosted in the outdoor arena of the Erath County Livestock Association grounds, just on the eastside of Stephenville.

Fast forward 40 years and the ECLA board of directors still produce a professionally sanctioned rodeo, which has since moved to the indoor facility of Lone Star Arena on Highway 377. Focusing on a great family entertainment value, the Cowboy Capital of the World ProRodeo offers a hometown event that appeals to all ages.

Kids are invited to try their hand as a rough stock cowboy in a fan favorite - Mutton Bustin’. Each night, prior to the regular performance, kids “enter up” and climb into the chute and wait for the chute gate to crack open and ride the sheep as long as possible. There are buckles to win and bragging rights to claim - riding a sheep in the big pen is no small feat no matter the size of the cowgirl or cowboy! Be sure to get to the entry window as entries are limited in each of the three nightly performances.

The first performance, Thursday night dares rodeo fans to “Be Tough-Tough Enough to Wear Pink” showing support for cancer awareness. For every person who goes through the gate wearing something pink, the rodeo committee will donate a portion of their ticket sales to the American Cancer Society. Cancer survivors will be recognized and special ‘pink’ merchandise will be available for sale.

On Friday night, all military personnel who attend the rodeo in uniform will be admitted free to honor all divisions of the military who protect and serve our great country. Friday night will also feature a memorial to Jimmy Andersen, popular PRCA bullfighter who passed away this past year and was an Erath county resident.

Finally, on Saturday night, there will be both a tribute to all those former ECLA directors who have had a hand in starting the 40 year tradition of professional rodeo in Erath county as well as a memorial tribute to the steer roping event sponsor, the late Danny Brown.

Maintaining the reputation of having the most professional rodeo athletes and personnel, Randy and Amber Schmutz, who call Stephenville home, will provide the announcing and sound for the rodeo. The team is nationally known for their tandem ability to both announce and produce extraordinary sound for professional rodeo. The Cowboy Capital of the World ProRodeo will feature the PRCA Award winning livestock from the Pete Carr Rodeo Company of Dallas.

Advanced tickets are on sale now at Grand Entry Western Store, RP’s Western Outlet, Signs & Designs and Saddle Rags with tickets also available at the gate. The ECLA is also sponsoring a raffle with fantastic prizes such as a big screen TV from Gifford’s TV and Electronics, cowboy boots from Ariat and Grand Entry Western Wear and a custom made hat from Cowboy Hatters. Gates open each night at 6 p.m. and performances will begin at 7:45 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. For more information visit www.stephenvilletexas.org or call The Chamber of Commerce at 254-965-5313.