Four States Fair and Rodeo to increase local purse, add Xtreme Bull Riding
TEXARKANA, Ark. – The organizers of the Four States Fair and Rodeo want to make a big statement starting with their 2016 event.
They will with a couple of vital changes to the exposition’s rodeo, from adding an Xtreme Bull Riding competition to increasing the overall purse for contestants.
“Our fair and rodeo is an important link to the community’s agricultural heritage, and we want to be able to provide great entertainment at a great price,” said Daryl Livingston, the fair’s chairman of the board “The principal reason we’re making these changes is to create a world-class rodeo for our community and for cowboys who compete here.”
While rodeo events will still take up four days of the exposition – from Wednesday, Sept. 14-Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Four States Fair Entertainment Center in Texarkana – that segment of the celebration will kick start with Xtreme Bulls, a stand-alone bull riding event that will feature most of the top bull riders in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
“This is the appropriate market for a bull riding event,” Livingston said. “We host over a dozen major rodeo, livestock and equine events here each year.
“We have the audience for that market, and I think the Xtreme Bulls will be a big hit.”
He pointed to nationally televised events that feature bull-riding only competitions as a key factor in the sport’s growing popularity.
“We’re excited about what it will do for our existing market as well as new audiences,” he said.
Vice president Lisa Barr and many volunteers have worked hard to increase the sponsorship portion of the purse for the PRCA rodeo to more than double what it was in 2015. That is a big step for the four states area, which includes Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
“This is the 72nd year of a continuous event,” Livingston said. “It’s a gathering place for the whole community to come together. It reflects an important part of our local history. That’s one great thing about it.”
The organizers also want it to be an important part of each season for the cowboys and cowgirls who make their livings in ProRodeo.
“We want to entice world-class contestants to come to our rodeo,” Barr said. “We want to let the cowboys know that this is they place they want to be, that this is an exciting event and that this is a title they want to win.”
A year ago, the rodeo featured a local purse of $19,000; this year, that has been pushed to $45,000. Throw in a collaborative effort from the team at Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, and it’s a positive mix for all involved.
“We’ve got a world-class production team, and now we want to make our rodeo as competitive as any other in the country,” Livingston said. “That’s what our local fans deserve for their investment in this fair and rodeo.
“Pete Carr brings a top-flight promotional and production team to town, and the professionalism they bring with them shows that this is truly a National Finals Rodeo production. He brings that to our venue year after year. He’s helped us bring innovation to our shows and our performances. He’s been a mentor to help develop the event for our community.”
That community has a powerful history. Separated by State Line Avenue, Texarkana is a Texas and Arkansas twin city that’s Twice as Nice and is the center of the four-states region.
“In the next five years, the board of directors in our organization has a goal to be the Rodeo of the Year in our class,” Barr said. “We’ve already been a four-day rodeo for quite a while. Now we’re taking the first day and turning it into an Xtreme Bulls event and shortening our rodeo to three days. It makes us more contemporary for rodeos our size.
“We want contestants to look at the calendar and know this is where they want to be. We’re a hospitality- and contestant-driven event. We want to provide a great experience for the contestants and the staff. We want to give them downhome, family treatment that they take with them when they leave. It’s in our DNA to welcome people and help them have a good time.”