When Stockton Graves learned the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo was moving to Oklahoma City, he knew he wanted to be part of the field.
He’s competed for the national title six times in his career, but this year’s championship means even more to the Newkirk, Okla., cowboy because the 25th anniversary event will take place March 31-April 3 at the Jim Norick Arena at the State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City.
“Qualifying has always meant a lot to me,” said Graves, who won the DNCFR steer wrestling title in 2006. “It’s a great deal with Dodge being involved, and it’s always been important to me to make the circuit finals and try to win the circuit and qualify for the Dodge National Circuit Finals.”
The DNCFR pits the top cowboys and cowgirls from the 12 regional ProRodeo circuits against one another for the prestigious national title. Contestants will compete in the seven traditional rodeo sports of bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing and bull riding.
The central location could prove to be an advantage for competitors from the Prairie Circuit, made up primarily by rodeos and contestants from Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska.
“It’s a great rodeo with a lot of money,” Graves said. “This year was even more important to me since it’s in Oklahoma and just an hour and a half from the house.”