Women's finals rodeo event set for Pawhuska
Mostly the COVID taketh away, much to our lament, but sometimes it giveth opportunity. That will be Pawhuska's story this weekend, as the Women's Ranch Rodeo Association brings its World Finals Rodeo to town.
"This is an event that we're fortunate to have," Joni Nash, executive director of the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce, said about the WRRA's finals rodeo. Nash has competed in it herself in the past.
The finals rodeo was originally to have taken place in Dodge City, Kansas, but had to be moved because of COVID-19.
"We have the facilities. We have everything they need," Nash said. "And we want to host them."
The WRRA rodeo will bring 60 contestants (they compete in teams of four women each), along with husbands, children, friends and fans. That means it's possible Pawhuskans could see several hundred visitors in town, beginning Thursday. A kickoff party for the rodeo is to be held outside the Ben Johnson Cowboy Museum, at 6th and Leahy, at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Nash said the community has the opportunity to compete to be the host site for the WRRA rodeo again in the near future.
Jenna Stierwalt, of Shidler, a former WRRA board member who has been a champion on several occasions and still competes, expressed excitement about the finals rodeo coming to Pawhuska. Nash credited Stierwalt with doing a lot of the work necessary to bring the rodeo to Osage County this week.
"I could not be happier that we will be in Pawhuska, and I think we will be back next year in Pawhuska," Stierwalt said. "The support from the town has been outrageous, it's been so good."
Stierwalt thanked the Ben Johnson Cowboy Museum for setting up the kickoff party, including a band.
"They really have gone above and beyond to help us out," Stierwalt said of the museum.
Cody Garnett, of the museum, made it clear the happiness was mutual.
"We're just glad to have a championship event here in town," Garnett said.
Stierwalt said the Osage County Cattlewomen, of which she is a member, will be helping out with the kickoff party by providing refreshments.
With regard to COVID-19, she said hand sanitizer will be available, the party is to be outside under a tent, and mask wearing is at one's own discretion. Party tickets are $10 apiece at the door.
The schedule for rodeo performances is 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday, and 1 p.m. on Saturday. Adult tickets are $10 per performance, or $25 for all three performances. Children 10 and younger will be admitted free of charge.
The performances will be at the Clarence Brantley arena at the Fairgrounds.