Howdy, gents and ladies. It’s rodeo time.
The 13th annual Odessa Rodeo will be held this weekend at Starkey Ranch, on the corner of State Road 54 and Gunn Highway in Odessa.
“It’s a sanctioned, professional rodeo,” said Cathryn Rowdon, a marketing representative for the event who calls herself “Miss Rowdy.” “The people who ride in the rodeo actually compete throughout a Southeast circuit.”
Both men and women will compete in everything from bull to bareback horse riding. The women’s event, Barrel Racing, features lady riders leading their horses around barrels in figure eight patterns.
The rodeo, which is sponsored by the Seven Springs Rotary Club, helps qualify contenders for national competition, she said. All event workers are volunteers, and proceeds benefit local charities.
Because of the heightened competition, the event has drawn the participation of a professional stockman to supply the livestock – bulls and such – for the competition.
“Because all of these folks are going for big money, you have to bring in good livestock,” said Rowdon.
Wrangler Jeans and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association will be there to watch over the point system and the weather – they have the authority to delay the rodeo if rain threatens – but the event will go on, “rain or shine,” Rowdon said.
“But people tend to misunderstand what’s going on,” she said.
“It’s not just a rodeo. We’ve been wanting to do something else out there.”
In addition to the rodeo, the event also features a full carnival-style midway, arts and crafts booths, food vendors and more.
The weekend’s festivities, especially Saturday’s, are numerous.
Local performer Lisa Parks will open Friday with the national anthem.
On the list is a first-time-ever chili cook-off with Tampa Tribune columnist Steve Otto, a Civil War re-enactment and a “Little Miss and Mister Chili Pepper” pageant. There are also nightly band performances and daily “kiddie rodeos.”
“It’s not just a little thing out in the middle of the field,” said Rowdon.
Among the long list of professional organizations that help out with the event are Coca-Cola and Budweiser, which plan to have a special “beer truck” under the main Big Top tent. Midway Farm and Ranch, a store that sells cowboy paraphernalia, will also bring their entire store stock to sell at the event. Pit Boss Barbeque, a popular Odessa eatery, will also be there with piles of ribs.A dance floor will be available and live bands will play throughout each day.
“People only have to pay $5 to get in, and they can spend the whole day at the site and not even go to the rodeo,” said Rowdon.
“A lot of people don’t want to go to the rodeo and just go for the light entertainment.”
Tickets are sold separately for the individual rodeo events, which are held in a cow pasture surrounded by bleachers. Prices run $10 to $15 for the rodeo events and can be purchased from Ticketmaster and the event Web site, .Seating is first come, first served, with access for handicapped individuals. Visitors are advised to prepare accordingly with sunscreen and sunglasses since the main rodeo site is not covered from the sun.
“If you haven’t ever been to a rodeo, it’s something to experience,” said Rowdon. “Then you can make up your mind.”
Contact Danielle Ritchie at email@example.com.