Organizers looks to give to youth

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GROESBECK, Texas – Bobby Joe Hill is not a man who believes in the status quo.

Hill, owner of Hill Rodeo Cattle, has teamed with Cody Gantt to produce the Wild West Championships, set for Friday, May 23-Monday, May 26, at the Limestone County Fairgrounds in Groesbeck.

“We had a good start last year, so we wanted to build on that,” said Hill, who will utilize the event to help raise scholarship money for area youth. “We had a lot more time to do the planning this year, so we’ve added some things to it to make it a better experience.”

Enter Gantt, who is working closely with Hill to make sure this year’s event goes off well.

“We’re branching off on something Bobby Joe did last year,” Gantt said. “We wanted to do something more than that, which is why we came up with the scholarships. The main reason we’re doing this is to give the scholarships.”

The Wild West Championships will feature three full days of Western events, from USTRC-sanctioned team ropings – including an invitational open roping and an all-girls event – to invitational-only events in both steer roping and the ranch rodeo.

“All of the winners will get paid shootouts to the USTRC World Finals in Oklahoma City, and we’ve also set the barrier to the same length as the World Series,” Hill said, noting that most of the USTRC-sanctioned events will feature an 80 percent payback. “I think all those things combined will help us with the number of contestants we have.

“I think the people who like this are really going to enjoy it, because all the teams will have a lot to rope for.”

The weekend begins with competitors in the Nos. 13 and 12 divisions on Friday, May 23, with Nos. 11, 10 and 9 roping Saturday, May 24. The Sunday, May 25, showcase will feature the All Girls Team roping, followed by the Texas 10-Header Open Team Roping (limited to 50 teams) and the Invitational Ranch Rodeo (limited to 20 teams). The festivities conclude Monday, May 26, with the Invitational Steer Roping followed by the No. 8 team roping (with a 70 percent payback).

“We’re hoping to continue to grow this, because I think it’s going to be a great thing,” Hill said. “We wanted to add the all-girls roping, and I think that’s going to be a successful event this year.”

In addition to the cash prizes, there are buckles, saddles, trailers and other awards that will be passed out over the course of the four-day showcase.

“We’ve got some great sponsors who are part of this already, but we have room for more,” he said. “We want this to be a great event for the contestants, but we also want the fans to really enjoy the show. Groesbeck has an amateur rodeo, but we don’t get to see the big-name professional cowboys. I’ve talked to the guys, and they say they’re going to support this event.

“That means our local fans can stay here and watch these guys instead of having to travel 100 miles or more to see them. I think the fans will really enjoy that part of it, too.”

Gantt echoed those sentiments.

“This is not just a team roping event, but that will be a big attraction, too,” he said. “We’re having a ranch rodeo, and there are a lot of local ranchers who will be part of it and others that will just enjoy it. Our open team roping will draw a lot of the big names, the ones that most people don’t get to see around here very often. On Monday we’ll have the steer roping, and the best guys should be here for that.

“There will be a lot of great things for fans to see.”

The main purpose is giving back to area youth.

“My goal is to raise enough money so we can give a lot of money away in scholarships,” Hill said. “We want to continue to grow this so it’s something we can do every year.”


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