DODGE CITY, Kan. – For people in Ford County, Dodge City Roundup Rodeo is simply the marquee event of the annual Dodge City Days celebration.
For those looking in from the outside, it’s the biggest rodeo in Kansas, an event that’s forever memorialized in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Make no mistake, however; this is very much a community event, and the community is ready for this year’s rodeo, set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 4-Sunday, Aug. 8, at Roundup Arena; Dodge City Xtreme Bulls is set for 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 3.
“One of the big reasons we’ve been involved for so long is the exposure,” said Jeff Lopp Sr. of Lopp Motors, a longtime sponsor of Roundup Rodeo and a major contributor to the event’s success. “The main thing is Roundup Rodeo brings so much to Dodge City, exposure and economically. It’s very important to the community when they can be involved with Roundup Rodeo and the whole Dodge City Days celebration. It just benefits the entire city.”
That’s true. From the Medallion Hunt to the various shows and cookouts to the parade and on to the six nights of rodeo action, there are so many things happening to help bring a community together.
Roundup Rodeo got its start in 1977, and it blossomed quickly. In 1984, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association created its Rodeo of the Year award, and Roundup won the first of its nine awards in 1985. In fact, Dodge City’s rodeo earned at least a share of the Rodeo of the Year award eight of the first nine years the honor was presented.
In 1993, the award was expanded to include different categories. In 2001, Roundup was named the Large Outdoor Rodeo of the Year. Since then, it has been nominated for the same award multiple times and was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2012.
“Roundup Rodeo has been voted as Rodeo of the Year, and the success from Roundup is not just the officers, but the hundreds of volunteers and the countless hours they put in to make the arena, the rodeo and the grounds accessible, and it becomes a social event,” said Lopp, who first became a sponsor in 1983 when Dodge Rodeo was developed and opened a door for his dealership to really step up its sponsorship level with national support. “It really is a big deal to us.”
It’s a big deal all over north America. This southwestern Kansas rodeo is a draw well beyond the region, though the majority of visitors come from Ford County and its surrounding counties.
“It’s such a large event for this part of the state,” Lopp said. “We have people that we see at our display that take their vacations to come to Dodge City for Dodge City Days and the rodeo. We are a draw for the local people and the people that have been here before and want to come back.
“Part of it, I think, is the quality of the stock contractors and the cowboys that come here. I think some of it has to do with the hospitable attitude of everyone involved with Roundup. The reputation has been established, and the volunteers work tirelessly to maintain that reputation.”