The Duncan Banner
Rodeo superstars return this week to Stephens County for the annual Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo. This is the second year for Duncan and this area to host the event, which brings the best of the best to the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center arena in hopes of earning their way to the nationals.
To kick off the three-day rodeo, which is PRCA-sanctioned, several of the cowboys and cowgirls will be available for a special autograph signing, said Joe Henderson, who is one of the commitee chairmen.
This year, the event will be held at Byford Auto Group dealership at the Duncan/Lawton Y, from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday.
“This will help kick off the first real event and welcome the rodeo stars to town and welcome Randy Byford to the Duncan family,” Henderson said. This year, the signing will feature Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Rachel Bergren, Miss Rodeo Kansas, Kara Hackney, Miss Rodeo Nebraska Sam Chytka, and Miss Chisholm Trail Stampede and Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Teen Elise Wade. Also, World Champion and NFR Qualifier Ryan Jarrett, steer roper; Corey Navarre, bull rider and Keith Isley, funny man.
Isley has won the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Clown of the Year six times, among many other achievements (see related story on this page).
Navarre, of Weatherford, Okla., is a 14-year member of the PRCA and has qualified four times for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He holds numerous records.
Jarrett, from Comanche, is a world champion and five time national finals rodeo qualifier, for calf roping, steer wrestling and team roping. He was inducted into the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Rodeo Hall of Fame in October 2010.
Henderson said it’s not often Duncan rodeo fans will get the chance to meet many of the top rodeo athletes and stars, but the autograph signing provides a casual atmosphere for this.
“This will be a real opportunity to meet and get autographs from world champions and rodeo contestants. It’ll be a chance to get in the atmosphere and mood of “rodeo week.”
Last year’s autograph signing had several children smiling as they met the rodeo stars.
Many other things are planned to help promote rodeo week. There will be pink T-shirts for sale at the autograph signing at Byford’s with the proceeds to benefit the cancer center, Henderson said. Free hotdogs will be available.
There will also be raffles, one for a Hughes trailer that will be drawn for during the Saturday night rodeo, and another for a pair of Justin Boots, donated by Crutcher’s Western Wear. That raffle is based on the number of autographs the ticket holder has and will be drawn at the autograph signing.
“We’ll also be giving away a few tickets for the rodeo. That of course, will be determined by the crowd and how many attend the autograph signing,” Henderson said.
Henderson said he’s hopeful that other rodeo stars will be there, but has not received a final confirmation. They include Wade Sundell, a NFR qualifier bareback rider, and bullfighters Nathan Harp and Chuck Swisher.
“I’m hoping we have about 10 to 15 rodeo stars there.”
Even if they don’t have that many, Henderson encourages everyone, whether they plan to attend the rodeo or not, to come greet the rodeo stars and also Byford.
The rodeo starts nightly at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.