The 47th annual Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo - one of the community's premier annual events - kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, at Lone Star Arena bringing in thousands of visitors and thus, millions of dollars in revenue to the area.
At the latest meeting of the Stephenville City Council, Travis Felts of the Cowboy Capital of the World Pro Rodeo Association, said, “I don’t know if you have seen all the people coming and going in and out of the hotels and restaurants around the rodeo, or if you’ve thought about the economic impact the rodeo has on our community, but it’s enormous.”
John Hubbard, executive director of the Stephenville Economic Development Authority, echoed the sentiment. He said preliminary numbers run as high as $3 million for the area during the four-day period around the rodeo.
"At this time we don’t have enough rooms to accommodate all the rodeo fans and participants that come into the city of Stephenville for the PRCA. So some of that money is going out of Stephenville where the overflow is going to go − to Granbury and Weatherford primarily," Hubbard said. "But just in the local area, I’d say it’s realistic to estimate an economic impact of around $2.5 million.”
Chad Decker, Cowboy Capital of the World Pro Rodeo Association president, explained that those numbers are the result of a lot of hard work and phenomenal growth.
"We have grown by leaps and bounds. We recently got our numbers in and we’ve got over 650 contestants signed up,” Decker said. “This is the second year in a row that we’re nominated for the number one medium-sized rodeo and we’ll find out the results on that in Las Vegas in November.
“This rodeo is a great showcase of our western culture and a tremendous source of revenue for the city and community as a whole. It’s a full-time job for many of us but we take a lot of pride in this, so it’s well worth the effort.”
Stephenville Mayor Kenny Weldon agrees.
"I'd like to encourage everyone to check out the exciting list of events planned for our community during this year's Rodeo Heritage Week,” Weldon said. “The Rodeo Committee, once again, has done an incredible job of organizing a week-long celebration for Stephenville. They have provided an opportunity for us to not only celebrate our heritage, but proclaim for all to see why we are truly the Cowboy Capital.”