Are you ready to rodeo? Cavalcade starts July 17

Emily Droege
Dancers enjoy the street dance during last year’s Cavalcade in Pawhuska. Jack Buzbee/Journal-Capital file photo

The world’s largest amateur rodeo will rope off next month in Pawhuska, and more than 10,000 people are expected to turn up to the big extravaganza set for July 17-23.

Most of the events for the Cavalcade 2017 will take place at the Osage County Fairgrounds Arena.

Cavalcade Secretary Kate Huddleston guarantees that spectators will have a good time during the 71st annual event. Each day will be jam packed with activities, plus there will be plenty of vendors selling clothing, jewelry, furniture, western decor, saddles and a whole lot more.

“This is the largest amateur rodeo in the world, but we treat it like the National Finals Rodeo. Our show is professionally orchestrated by some of the best stock contractors, arena help, announcers, timekeepers, and board members you will ever find,” said Huddleston.

Indeed, all the behind-the-scenes work will make this year’s Cavalcade a family-fun atmosphere. Huddleston said that more than 900 contestants will take part in the numerous entries and approximately 200 roundup club horse trailers, campers and RVs will be stationed at the fairgrounds during the week.

“We wish we had more room for the spectators and general public to stay with us as well, but that is just not an option at this time,” she said. “Many of our contestants come to the Cavalcade for their family vacation. There are some people that are good friends who will only see each other every year at Cavalcade. The stories people tell about the memories they have made could fill a whole series of books.”

Some of the daytime events taking place will be a chuck wagon race, pony express races, barrels, poles, flags and calf roping. Evening events include team roping, bull riding, bareback bronc riding, wild cow milking, barrels, tie-down calf roping and the wild horse race.

“This year we will also be including a special open event, the stray gathering. We will have five steers turned out at once and two-man teams compete simultaneously to head, heel and tie down their steer in the fastest time possible,” Huddleston said.

“This is an event aimed at attracting the fans of the “real cowboy” who has to ride out in the pasture and rope and doctor cattle in a setting completely opposite that of a rodeo arena.”

There will also be plenty of cash prizes for winning contestants and door prizes and gift certificates will be given out throughout the week. Plus, a whole array of carnival style food and beverage vendors will be on site, she added.

Several bands, like Mark Chamberlain & The Whiskey Poet Society, Read Southall, Jon Wolfe, Whiskey Myers and Jason Boland & The Stragglers, will be rocking during the after-hours Cavalcade throughout the week, too.

“After the rodeo, many visitors choose to stay and dance under the stars to some of the biggest names in Red Dirt country music,” said Huddleston. “It is July, and it is hot. But I believe you will grab an ice cold sno-cone or lemonade and soon forget about the heat while you watch the excitement of the Cavalcade nightlife.”

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