DUNCAN, Okla. –In this part of southern Oklahoma, the sport of rodeo is more than a past time and a night out with family and friends.
It’s a lifestyle for many in Stephens County, and nobody needs to look any further than the community of Comanche, just nine miles down the road from the Stephens County Expo Center in Duncan, which will be home to the Duncan Pro Rodeo presented by the Chisholm Trail Casino.
Just over the last couple of decades, Comanche has produced four National Finals Rodeo qualifiers, two of whom have earned world championships in that time: Janae Ward Massey, the 2003 barrel racing titlist, and Ryan Jarrett, the 2005 all-around winner. Others who have played on the sports biggest stage in recent years were Colt Gordon and Kylie Ward Weast, one of the champ’s little sisters.
It’s that kind of passion that brings some of the best in rodeo back to southern Oklahoma to compete at the Duncan Pro Rodeo, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 6-Saturday, May 7. Tickets can be purchased at Crutcher’s Western Wear in Duncan or online at McCoyRodeo.com.
McCoy Rodeo has also added a specialized third performance with the Duncan WRCA Ranch Rodeo, set for 5 p.m. Thursday, May 5. It will feature 10 teams and serve as a qualifying event for the Working Ranch Cowboys Association & Foundation’s Finals.
“I grew up rodeoing with a lot of people from around Duncan, so I know how much rodeo means to the people there,” said Cord McCoy, who operates the Oklahoma-based livestock production firm McCoy Rodeo with his wife, Sara, and Joe Waln, a third-generation stock contractor. “Back when I was rodeoing, I made sure to enter the Duncan rodeo every year I could.
“Competing at that rodeo was a big deal to me, and we are working to make it a big deal again.”
After years away, McCoy brought the PRCA-sanctioned rodeo back a year ago, and he’s excited to return. He understands what people in Stephens County think about when it comes to rodeo and the Western lifestyle. Take the Ward sisters, Massey and Weast. They are part of the third generation of NFR qualifiers: grandmother Florence Youree; great aunt Sherry Johnson; and mother Renee Ward.
Jarrett is a 14-time NFR qualifier, earning most of his trips to the big show in tie-down roping. Gordon earned his first bid to Las Vegas as a saddle bronc rider in 2019. He finished outside the top 15 each of the past two years, but things can change mighty fast in ProRodeo.
Take Cody Ballard of Tumut, South Wales, Australia, who dominated saddle bronc riding in Duncan a year ago and rode the wave to the Prairie Circuit year-end and average titles, which he clinched during the regional finals last October at the Stephens County Expo Center.
While bareback rider Mark Kreder of Collinsville, Oklahoma, didn’t win the circuit, the money he won in Duncan last May helped propel him to another qualification to the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo. He finished fourth in the average and third in the final circuit standings.
“Last year when I saw that Cord had these rodeos, I knew I wanted to be part of it,” Kreder said. “It was a great rodeo. The production was great, and the horses bucked great.”
That’s just what rodeo cowboys and fans will realize quickly when the Duncan Pro Rodeo returns to town.