I have to admit it: I’ve never been to the Beef Empire Days Rodeo in Garden City, Kan.
Yeah, it’s kind of sacrilege, I know. I am from Leoti, Kan., a mere 50 miles northwest of Garden City, but I have a caveat: I only lived there the first five years of my life. When we moved away, we seemed to always make the trip to see family in western Kansas and northwest Oklahoma in July, usually in time for the Woodward (Okla.) Elks Rodeo in the same community where my Grandma Harbin lived.
When my folks retired to Leoti in 1988, I was spending the summer break from college working for an irrigation company in northwest Kansas. After college, the schedule never allowed for me to attend the festivities. When I worked at the newspaper in Dodge City, Kan., our focus was Dodge City Days and Dodge City Roundup in August, not the June activities an hour to our west.
The Beef Empire Days Rodeo is taking place right now, and I’m keeping track of the action online. The truth is, I’d love to be there in person. It’s always been one of the biggest rodeos in my home state, and it’s the closest ProRodeo to Leoti.
Plus, I think I could help the media coverage and the promotion of the event and all the activities that go along with it. The rodeo’s news not only needs to be in the Garden City Telegram, but also the weekly newspapers in the communities that surround Garden City – the people that live in those towns partake in the Beef Empire Days festivities, too.
Eighteen years ago, I began working in Dodge City. That August marked the first time I attended/covered Dodge City Roundup, and it re-ignited the passion of rodeo that was deep inside my soul. I got to see the sport’s greatest cowboys and cowgirls compete on one of the biggest stages in the sport.
This year I get to be part of the action in Dodge City, sharing the news and information about the rodeo while promoting one of the best events in the sport. It will be inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in July, which is an amazing feat for an event that began just 35 years ago.
I’m very excited about the opportunity to be part of Dodge City Roundup again, this year in a much larger capacity. I’m very proud of my western Kansas roots, and I’d like to be able to help all those great events be successful year after year.