CLAREMORE, Okla. – A championship celebration is coming to this Rogers County community for Memorial Day weekend.
In conglomeration with the Will Rogers Stampede, the city of Claremore will recognize the rodeo, its history and its award-winning legacy leading up to the three nights of world-class performances at Will Rogers Stampede Arena.
It all begins with the Downtown Hoedown, which will take place Thursday, May 26. A portion of Will Rogers Boulevard will be closed for the gathering.
“This is going to be a great way to kick off our rodeo,” said David Petty, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. “We’re celebrating our 70th consecutive year of having the Will Rogers Stampede in Claremore, and this is a great way to honor that.”
The key ingredient will be the three performances – set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 27-Sunday, May 29 – of the Will Rogers Stampede, which has been named the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Small Rodeo of the Year each of the past two seasons.
“The Rodeo of the Year award says so much about the hard work that the volunteers put in year in and year out to make that rodeo successful,” said Scott Grover, the longtime announcer of Claremore’s rodeo. “Every year those people bust their humps to put on a better rodeo than what they had done before, and it shows.
“Last year was just a sloppy mess in the arena, but the crowd didn’t know any different. We still had a lot of people at that rodeo that saw a great performance night after night. It’s also a great sign of the type of production Pete Carr Pro Rodeo puts on. Even with the mud and the rain, those Carr animals were amazing.”
Included in this year’s festivities are concerts each night after the rodeo, with a stage set up on the east side of the rodeo arena. Friday’s show will feature Adam Hood, while Saturday will be the playground of Cooder Graw. Cody Canada and The Departed will close out the weekend on Sunday night.
Tickets are on sale through the event’s website, www.WillRogersStampede.com, and include family packs and adult passes offered at a significant discount online.
“I think one of the exciting things for us is the return to a rodeo parade,” Petty said, noting the parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and take place from the Will Rogers Memorial down Will Rogers Boulevard and end up at the historic Belvidere Mansion.
“For years, the people of Claremore associated the rodeo with a parade. By bringing it all together, it’s exciting to us to see that the city has embraced the rodeo just like it did decades ago.”
That’s just the way it was meant to be.