Osage County tourism director Kelly Bland told county commissioners Monday that the county will have the honor of playing host April 26-27 to the first Roy Clark Memorial Championship Rodeo, held at the Clarence L. Brantley Indoor Arena at the county fairgrounds.


The event will benefit the American Therapeutic Riding Center based in Sand Springs. Clark, who died in November at 85, was a legendary country and bluegrass performer. He was a member of the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was living in Tulsa when he died.


Bland expressed excitement about the upcoming event and said the quality of the arena at the Osage County Fairgrounds, and the quality of service provided by facility manager PeeWee Easley, helped bring the event to the county.


In other comments, Monday to the county commissioners, Bland said she has nominated the Ben Ranch Cabins at Fairfax and the Tallgrass Music Festival at Skiatook for the annual competition for Redbud Awards, which are given in May by the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association and are considered the holy grail of Oklahoma’s tourism awards.


Bland said she nominated the Ben Ranch Cabins in the lodging category and the Tallgrass Music Festival in the category for outstanding events. She explained to the commissioners that the Tallgrass Music Festival is a first-rate event that deserves greater promotion.


“I have attended, and I have been impressed with the quality,” Bland said. She said the bands that play at the event are highly sought after, and the stage is TV quality. The Tallgrass Music Festival is scheduled for May 31 through June 1, and this will be the 15th year for the festival.


The county commissioners agreed Monday to appropriate $2,250 in support of the Tallgrass Festival. Bland said festival organizers were only asking for $1,500, but the county’s tourism oversight committee “wanted to raise those dollars to help them get the word out more.”