SILVERTON, Texas – Most rodeos are produced by a small core group of people who spend each year working out all the fine details.
There are just fewer folks in Silverton, Texas. Still, the community that boasts about 600 residents still puts on one of the biggest celebrations in this portion of Texas, the annual Buck Wild Days Rodeo, which will have three performances set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18-Saturday, Aug. 20.
“You know, we’ve had a pretty good rodeo here for a lot of years,” said Ken Wood, chairman of the rodeo committee that produces the annual event. “We’ve done the TCRA deal for a while now. We had the rodeo of the year the first two times we did it, and we were the richest TCRA event.”
Wood is talking about the Texas Cowboys Rodeo Association, a 28-year-old organization based in Stinnett, Texas, that features some of the top cowboys and cowgirls from this region. Earning that kind of recognition from the TCRA means intense commitment from those involved.
So does transitioning to a bigger platform. That’s what the Silverton rodeo did in 2010 by joining the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the top sanctioning body in the sport.
“We’re a small community,” Wood said. “We have about 1,500 people in Briscoe County, and they’ll all be there. We’ll have a dance right there on the baseball field adjacent to the arena, where we’ve got six great Texas Country acts. The people will just bring their coolers in and enjoy themselves.
“You can’t put that on without people who bust their butts to make sure it happens.”
Wood is one of the main cogs that turns the wheel for the annual celebration, but he doesn’t do it alone. He leans on accountants and insurance agents, all of whom do what they can to produce an over-the-top event every year.
“I was just very impressed how large of an event you can have in such a small town with only a few committee members,” said Pete Carr, owner of Carr Pro Rodeo, the livestock producer for the Buck Wild Days Rodeo. “The committee was great last year. They really welcomed us. They cooked steaks for everyone the first night, and the next day we had a softball game next to the arena.
“But that’s when we found out just how hard they work. It’s just amazing what that committee pulled off. I was so proud of them.”
The cliché goes that it takes a village to raise a child. It takes more than that to conduct an annual event like this. Obligations must be met, and sponsors must be found. That means plenty of man hours spent scrambling around the Texas Panhandle searching for sponsors to invest in the rodeo.
On top of all that, there are the tiniest of details that must be covered, from promotion to hospitality to making sure contract personnel have the appropriate accommodations.
“Everybody involved with the Buck Wild Days Rodeo works really hard to make the event great for the fans, but also great for the competitors,” said Ken Stonecipher, the longtime arena announcer in Guymon who will share the microphone again this year with Andy Stewart. “They know the kind of work it takes to put on a quality event, and they’re not scared to work.”
The benefits can be seen in the final product, the three nights of the rodeo.
“I’ve had an awful lot of help,” Wood said. “The sponsors have come through over and over again to put on a great event. If you don’t have sponsors, you can’t make it work.”