By Ted Harbin, TwisTED Rodeo
GUYMON, OK -- Rodeo fans in the Oklahoma Panhandle understand the game well, and they comprehend what it means to see a great event.
"Most of the people that come to Pioneer Days know rodeo," said Earl Helm, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual event, set for 7:30 PM Friday, May 5; 2 and 7:30 PM Saturday, May 6; and 2 PM Sunday, May 7, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena. "We have a lot of cowboys who come every year, and a lot of them will come for more than one performance.
"That's why we've got to make our rodeo stand out. We do everything we can to put on the best show possible."
The proof is in the arena every May. Over the years, Pioneer Days Rodeo has been recognized as one of the best in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. In fact, it was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame two years ago because it also provides a great value to those that aren't quite so rodeo-savvy.
Nearly 1,000 contestants make their way to Guymon for the rodeo, which takes place all week. But the performances are where the main action is, and thousands of fans from all over make sure to attend.
"We've priced our tickets to make it affordable fun for the entire family," Helm said, noting that the best deals come with pre-sale tickets: adult tickets are $15, with children ages 11-15 set at $5; children 10 and younger can get in for $5 or with two cans of food that will be donated to Loaves & Fishes.
"We have also designated that pricing schedule for our Saturday matinee, even at the gate. We want to give all these families a break on a great weekend. They can enjoy the parade, then come to the rodeo and see a great event. We have some of the best concessions you're going to find at a rodeo, so everybody can just make a day of it."
Tickets at the gate for the other three performances are $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 11-15. There are plenty of bangs for the bucks.
This is like a mini-National Finals Rodeo in every performance," Helm said. "We have the top cowboys and cowgirls that are part of our rodeo every year, and they all want to win one of our championship belts we give to the winners.
It's true. Many world champions strap their gold buckles to Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo belts.
But that's just a small piece of the pie that is Oklahoma's Richest Rodeo. Primary livestock producer Pete Carr Pro Rodeo enlists the assistance of several other big-name stock contractors to ensure a world-class event.
"What's great is that we can put on a premier championship rodeo in Guymon, Oklahoma," Helm said. "You don't have to travel to Las Vegas to see the best. They'll be right here."