GUYMON, Okla. – Lanny Wilson is a generous man of many talents.
The Guymon man uses all of them as one of the many volunteers on the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo committee who help to produce the annual event, which will have four performances set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 2; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 3; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4, at Henry C. Hitch Pioneer Arena.
“Lanny does so many things for us every year,” said Earl Helm, the committee chairman. “He helps us all year long with a lot of projects, and he’s really stepped up and made our hospitality the best in rodeo.”
Wilson is co-owner of Wilson Welding Works with Jerry Allen, and the shop donates equipment and many man-hours each year. In fact, Wilson Welding Works has done that for several decades. But that’s just part of the man’s giving nature.
“We make a lot of the repairs on welding and help build the new stuff,” Wilson said. “We’re working on bull pens and steer pen right now. This is something we do for the community. It’s a give-back. There are a lot of people that shuffle their cards so they can make money through Pioneer Days, but that’s not our purpose at Wilson Welding.”
It’s been noticed.
“It’s more than just doing things after work,” said Ken Stonecipher, the production director for the rodeo. “They’re paying their guys to be down there working on things. The two of them have been repairing and remodeling and working on that arena since the early 1990s. But that’s who they are.
“Lanny and Jerry also built softball fields for Kids Inc., so it’s more than the rodeo. They’re about giving to the community as a whole.”
In addition, Wilson spends a good portion of rodeo week in the hospitality building, preparing food and serving contestants, workers and others from the opening day of competition on Monday, April 28, until the rodeo concludes late in the afternoon Sunday, May 4.
“My wife, Vicki, and I are involved with that along with many, many others,” Wilson said. “I like to have people talking about the hospitality we put on in Guymon. I think we have one of the very finest in all of ProRodeo.”
It is, but it’s because of appropriate sponsorships and a dedicated crew that puts an emphasis on hospitality. It’s just another showcase of the type of work ethic volunteers put in each year to make Pioneer Days Rodeo one of the very best in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.
You see, Wilson has lent his hand to many aspects of rodeo over the years. He has worked as a sound technician at other rodeos, and, in Guymon, tackled just about any job assigned to him.
“When Lanny gets involved in something, he’s all in, whether it’s sound for rodeos or working on the hospitality or whatever,” Stonecipher said. “When Lanny got involved in the production side of rodeos and doing sound all over the region, he couldn’t help but compare other rodeo committees’ hospitality to Guymon, and that made him more willing to help out.
“Then he developed a passion for cooking, and those two things met with some great results in Guymon.”
Wilson has been recognized for his contributions. A few years ago, he was rewarded with the John Justin Standard of the West Award for his contributions to the rodeo committee. Last year, he was Guymon’s Citizen of the Year.
Still, it takes a certain personality to continue to volunteer time, talents and money to Guymon’s biggest celebration.
“This was built by the community,” Wilson said. “You’re going to be known for something, so why not be something good. Pioneer Days is all about our heritage. It’s what the old-timers did years and years ago, and we’re just trying to keep carrying it on.”
It’s that mentality by many members of the community that makes Pioneer Days Rodeo such a success.