BRIDGEPORT, Texas – The hard work put in to the Butterfield Stage Days Rodeo seems to be paying off.
For the second straight year, Bridgeport’s rodeo has been nominated for Small Rodeo of the Year in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. It’s one of just five rodeos its size – and one of 20 PRCA rodeos overall – that will be up for the top award given to committees that produce events nationwide. The winner will be announced during the PRCA Awards Banquet on Nov. 30 in Las Vegas.
“There are more than 600 PRCA rodeos, and for us to be recognized as one of the best is a big feather in our cap,” said David Turnbow, chairman of the volunteer committee that organizes the Butterfield Stage Days Rodeo. “There are a lot of great rodeos out there, and it just means the world to me and to this committee that we’ve been recognized again.”
The recognition is well deserved. The committee is made up of a few community volunteers who spend their time and talent to provide residents of Bridgeport and the surrounding area with good, family-friendly entertainment.
“I think a lot has to do with the atmosphere,” said Andy Stewart, who announced the rodeo for the first time this past May. “It’s the quintessential Texas rodeo. The committee treats the contestants really well, and everybody’s willing to help out. It’s a neat little town and a neat little rodeo.”
The awards are broken down into large indoor rodeo, large outdoor rodeo, medium rodeo and small rodeo, and each category features five nominees each. That means members consider the Bridgeport rodeo as one of the top 20 rodeos in North America.
“It is such an honor for this rodeo to be in with rodeos like Cheyenne (Wyo.), Fort Worth, Deadwood (S.D.), Dodge City (Kan.) and Pendleton (Ore.),” said Loydd Williams, a longtime member of the committee. “That says a lot about the people here in little ol’ Bridgeport, Texas, that we have such a rodeo.”
Bridgeport’s rodeo also is home to some of the top personnel in the PRCA, including Stewart, who is up for announcer of the year for the eighth time; Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, stock contractor of the year; Sandy Gwatney, secretary of the year; Jeremy Willis, pickup man of the year; and Clay Heger, bullfighter of the year.
“When you look at the list of individuals that are part of the crew or that are part of this rodeo every year, they are all in the top five in the industry,” Stewart said. “For me to work with the individuals that are the best in rodeo is a huge blessing, and I think it shows in the type of rodeo Bridgeport has.
“The show is the thing, and the crowd is the thing, and everyone does their job. One of the reasons why Bridgeport is successful is the right people are in the right place.”