STEPHENVILLE, Texas – This community’s motto is more than a phrase; it’s a lifestyle
The Cowboy Capital of the World is proof of the tremendous athletic talent that resides in Erath County. Over the last few years, the community’s rodeo has made changes to be a true showcase of that – first changing the date to the end of September to help draw more fans, then increasing the purse to attract the biggest names in the game.
“With college kids in town, our population doubles,” said Chad Decker, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the Cowboy Capital of the World PRCA Rodeo, set for 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, and Saturday, Sept. 27, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28, at Lone Star Arena. “In June, the college population wasn’t here. We’re trying to do the best job for the community.
“We’re also trying to get the cowboys and cowgirls. Now that it’s one of the last rodeos of the year, we feel like we’re going to be the rodeo they’ll all want to get to.”
ProRodeo’s regular season concludes on that Sunday. When the checks are tabulated the next day, everyone will know who finished among the top 15 money-earners in each event, signifying those coveted qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. That’s what makes the Stephenville rodeo so vital for the top contestants in the land.
“We’re giving them a chance to make it,” Decker said.
Decker and other volunteers stepped up their fund-raising efforts. This year, the committee will put $47,500 into the pot, which will be added to the contestants’ entry fees to make up the overall purse. That means solid payouts for the top finishers.
Another key feature for the top cowboys in the game is in the quality of livestock. The Cowboy Capital of the World Rodeo has the benefit of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo as its livestock producer. Last year alone, 27 Carr animals that were selected to buck at the NFR.
“Anytime Pete Carr has a rodeo, you know the stock’s going to be great,” said rookie Sage Kimzey, the No. 1 bull rider in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. “His bull string is one of the best in the business.”