BRIDGEPORT, Texas – Many across Wise County take considerable pride in their homes and their way of life.
They have a little more to be proud of with the Karl Klement Butterfield Stage Days Rodeo, which was nominated for Small Rodeo of the Year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 2015.
“We were so hoping that we would’ve gotten that top spot and won the award, but we’re very tickled to be nominated,” said David Turnbow, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. “Being in the top five rodeos in our category is an honor. Out of the more than 600 rodeos across the country, only 20 were nominated for rodeo of the year.
“That’s a very big deal to us and to our community.”
This year’s rodeo is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14, at Sunset Retreat and Weddings Arena, formerly the Bridgeport Riding Club Arena.
“It’s pretty darn special to be part of that few of rodeos,” Turnbow said. “Our goal is to win it this year.”
It’s a lofty aspiration, but it’s achievable, and everyone on the committee knows it. It helps, of course, that the group has enlisted the help of Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, one of the elite livestock and production companies in the PRCA with four straight nominations for Stock Contractor of the Year.
“Over the years we’ve been associated with Bridgeport, we’ve seen the hard work that everyone has put in to making that rodeo better,” said Pete Carr, owner of the Dallas-based team. “They are all great to work with, and I believe they are worthy of being the Rodeo of the Year.”
From the many man-hours leading up to the week of the rodeo to the intense labor put in during the week of the event, it takes a small army of dedicated people to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. When something comes up, they work together for the betterment of the organization. The proof is in the plaque that shows the Butterfield Stage Days Rodeo among the very best in ProRodeo.
“Being Rodeo of the Year is hard to win,” Turnbow said. “They don’t just pass the hat around, saying that it’s our turn. If you win that thing, you’ve done something.”
The volunteers are doing it, from great hospitality to hosting the greatest stars in the game every May. World champions and regular Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers make sure to stop by Bridgeport every spring.
“We’re always trying hard to do other stuff, and we have a lot of different ideas about where we’re going to go,” Turnbow said. “We’re always trying to do better.”