DODGE CITY, Kan. – The table is set for a six nights of world-class competition during the 40th year of Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.
The festivities begin at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, with a day full of steer roping and an evening of A Whole Lotta Bull: It will feature the top bull riders in ProRodeo during an Xtreme Bulls Tour stop and the greatest freestyle bullfighters in the game during the Bullfighters Only contest.
That showcase will be followed by five nights of championship rodeo that everyone in southwest Kansas knows as Roundup Rodeo, Dodge City Roundup Rodeo, set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3-Sunday, Aug. 7, at Roundup Arena.
“What I love about our rodeo is that we are putting on a show for our family, our friends and everybody who wants to see a good rodeo in Dodge City,” said Joel Redman, vice president of the volunteer committee that produces the annual rodeo. “Of course, we want to have great competition for the cowboys; by having that, we’re putting on a better rodeo.”
The cowboys and cowgirls understand. Hundreds of ProRodeo contestants – including the greatest in the game – make their way to Ford County every summer to be part of the field.
“We have amazing sponsors that really support this rodeo,” said Dr. R.C. Trotter, president of the committee. “They allow us to produce a great event and provide an outstanding purse for the contestants. That helps us draw the world champions and the NFR qualifiers – the best rodeo has to offer.”
Dodge City is a gateway to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, which features only the top 15 contestants in each event. It’s where millions of dollars are paid out over 10 nights in Las Vegas and where the annual world champions are crowned.
Because of its status in the rodeo world, Roundup is home to the sport’s greatest stars each year. That includes the amazing livestock. Frontier Rodeo’s Medicine Woman – which has been named the Saddle Bronc of the Year in 2011, ’14 and ’15 – has guided cowboys to the highest mark rides each of the past two seasons, both times inside Roundup Arena.
That’s not the only award-winning aspect of this year’s Roundup Rodeo, which has been named Rodeo of the Year nine times; also in the mix is rodeo clown/entertainer Keith Isley, one of the most decorated men in the business. He has been awarded Clown of the Year and Coors Man in the Can six times each, and has been a specialty act of the year 11 times.
“Having an outstanding entertainer is an important aspect of a great rodeo,” Trotter said. “We want to have the best possible event we can have year after year.”
It shows not only in the quality of Roundup Rodeo but also in its legacy. Four years ago, the rodeo was enshrined into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. It’s an accomplishment that most ProRodeos can only dream about, but Dodge City’s rodeo will be encased in the Colorado Springs, Colo., museum for many years to come.
“We have 40 years of putting on a great rodeo, and we want to be doing this for another 40,” Trotter said. “This is personal to many of us, and it’s personal to our fans. We like it that way.”