BRIDGEPORT, Texas – This community is tucked in north Texas is less than an hour’s drive from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
It’s home to about 6,100 people and one of the fastest growing events in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Hundreds of the greatest cowboys and cowgirls make their way to this small Wise County city each May for the Karl Klement Butterfield Stage Days Rodeo set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 8, and Saturday, May 9, at Sunset Retreat Arena, formerly the Bridgeport Riding Club Arena.
“Our rodeo is special because we get more than 450 cowboys and cowgirls from all over the world who attend our rodeo,” said Susan Miller, an eight-year member of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. “We get world champions and National Finals Rodeo qualifiers that are part of our show, and they come back every single year.”
That’s a tremendous benefit to the Bridgeport community. Contestants, their families and fans will flock to town for the two-day rodeo, eating at local restaurants, staying in hotels and utilizing fuel stops. In addition, it allows for an easy commute for a few elite cowboys and cowgirls.
“It’s good for our local rodeo contestants, too,” said David Turnbow, chairman of the rodeo committee, referring to numerous NFR qualifiers that live in Wise County, including three-time and reigning world champion tie-down roper Tuf Cooper; his father, eight-time titlist Roy Cooper; and Trevor Brazile, the 21-time gold buckle winner.
“Trevor is just 20 minutes from his house. Besides that, we’re getting a lot of the other big-name contestants. It’s fun for the community to see that, too.”
It’s just one ingredient that makes the perfect stew for the local rodeo. There are many, including a work force of volunteers that strive to make each performance the best it can be.
“We work all year long,” Miller said. “I believe the rodeo gets better every year. We are super proud of the rodeo, but we always know there is room for improvement. Each year after the rodeo ends, we have a meeting to discuss what we could do to make it better.
“That is our goal.”
It’s showing. The Karl Klement Butterfield Stage Days Rodeo is a hot commodity, both for contestants and fans. From an amazing competition to a true family friendly entertainment package, there has been plenty of talk about the Bridgeport rodeo.
“I believe it will be the most talked-about, successful PRCA rodeo for our size of community,” Miller said. “I believe that one weekend per year will continue to be scheduled in many date books across the nation.”