Lone Star Arena set to welcome PRCA Rodeo

JESSIE HORTON jessie.horton@empiretribune.com

Looking for some excitement? Then head out to the Lone Star Arena to the 43rd annual Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo Sept. 28-30.

For years, rodeo organizers held the event in June, but this year marks the first of a change in seasons for the event.

"We wanted to accommodate our little town, and make a bigger and better rodeo," said Chad Decker, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo. "With college kids in town, our population doubles. In June, the college population wasn't here. We're trying to do the best job we can for the community."

Decker said moving the rodeo from June to September will not only bring in a larger crowd, but more participants as well.

"We're also trying to get the cowboys and cowgirls. Now that it's one of the last rodeos of the year, we feel like we're going to be the rodeo they'll all want to come to," Decker said. "We've got some Texas circuit guys that are on the bubble for the circuit finals, and we've got some guys that are trying to make the NFR that are on the bubble as well. We're giving them the chance to make it."

The rodeo, produced by CARR Pro Rodeo and presented by the Erath Co. Livestock Association, will feature a little something for everyone with mutton bustin' and a calf scramble for the kids, wild cow saddling, the Miss Cowboy Capital Rodeo Queen contest, steer roping, ultimate calf roping along with all the usual rodeo events. The rodeo will also feature six-time PRCA comedy act of the year, Tony "The Wild Child" Lerwill, who will be performing outrageous motorcycle stunts.

Sign-up for the mutton bustin' will be at 6 p.m. and riding will begin at 6:30 p.m. before the rodeo begins at 7 on both Friday and Saturday. Mutton bustin' sign-ups will begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30. Riding will begin at 1:30 p.m. before the rodeo performance at 2.

Steer roping will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday and the ultimate calf roping will be held at 8:30 a.m. each day in Arena 2 at Lone Star.

"We've got a great facility, a covered arena with all the amenities," Decker said. "We've got a great cowboy church, and we'll have chuck wagon meals for the contestants. That'll be a neat deal where they can get a home-cooked meal while they're here."

The amenities and big-time competition will make for some of the best rodeo attendees will see this season, Decker said. Roughstock cowboys will test their talent on some of the best livestock in the game, which will be provided by Carr Pro Rodeo, a Dallas-based stock contractor.

More than 300 participants have signed up for the rodeo and are making plans to take part in the festivities next weekend. This is far more than in years past, according to officials, and so they believe the move to September was the right one.

"I think the change is good for the cowboys and those coming out to see them. We are very pleased with the numbers, especially since this is the first rodeo since the date change," Decker concluded. "It's really a win-win for everybody."

Advanced tickets are available at Grand Entry Western Store, Saddle Rags and Stephenville Chamber of Commerce. Adult tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the gate. Kids 12 and under are $5 each. Friday will be Tarleton Night which will allow students a $2 discount at the gate with a valid student ID.