Osage County offers events, destinations that bolster area’s tourism

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

With the recent acceptance of Pawhuska into the Oklahoma Creative Communities Project and upcoming events throughout Osage County, tourism is offering an economic boost to the area.

“Creative Communities focuses on economic development and defining ‘who/what’ a community is in creative ways,” said Bruce L. Carter, owner of Tallgrass Art Gallery in Pawhuska. “Of course for Pawhuska and the Osage, that means tourism!”

Carter recently was named Journal Register Creative Oklahoman of the Year, which prompted Pawhuska’ designation as a Creative Community.” I think this will work well with our tourism goals as an economic driver,” Carter said.

“The Osage County Tourism Committee is proud of Bruce and the city of Pawhuska for this recognition and designation, said Trish Kerkstra, chairman of the Osage County Tourism Committee. “With Pawhuska being named a Creative Community, it will benefit from additional resources to support the on-going projects and progress that have propelled Pawhuska to become a popular travel destination.

“Pawhuska and Osage County together have a rich history and incredible story. As visitors make their way to Pawhuska to shop and dine, we hope they will take the time to explore the beautiful scenery and culture of the Osage,” she added.

Some amazing visitor draws this summer include the 71st Annual Cavalcade Rodeo, July 17-23; the 48th Annual Kihekah Steh Powwow, July 28-30; and the Shidler 14th Annual Car Show, Aug. 26.

The Cavalcade Rodeo, founded in 1947, is a four-day western sports jamboree held on the Osage County fairgrounds, three miles south of Pawhuska. A large pasture is marked off into streets and camp sites as a vast city of RV’s, campers and pickups unfurls to house incoming roundup and riding club members.

Contestants for the nine rodeo performances hail from participating riding and roundup clubs. Shows are held twice daily Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, climaxing with the Sunday afternoon performance. Events include bareback bronc riding, bull riding, wild horse races, team roping, wild cow milking, calf roping, pony express races, barrel races, pole bending, flag races, chuck wagon races and the queen contest. A dance is held each night after the performance..

After-hours at Cavalcade also offers lots of fun. Tickets can be purchased at the Cavalcade office on the Pawhuska fairgrounds during the week of the rodeo, or by cash at the entrance gate. Tuesday street dance in downtown Pawhuska is free. Wednesday admission is $10 all ages. Thursday through Saturday admission is $20 all ages.

Shidler’s 14th Annual Car Show commences with early bird registration at 8:30 a.m. and the Car Show commencing at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The show is open to the public free of charge which draws many classic car enthusiasts to this small Osage County community in support of the usual number of more than 150 cars each year.

The Kihekah Steh Annual Powwow is a Native American gathering of all tribes to celebrate and honor their historical customs and beliefs. Native Americans from all tribes and areas will gather to celebrate and show support for each other. It is a time when different tribes interact in a social gathering to dance, eat, and visit with one another. In addition, the dances allow visitors a chance to observe and participate in cultural traditions that began hundreds of years ago.

Native American foods and crafts are available during the powwow. The 48thannual Kihekah Steh Powwow will be held on July 28-30 and is located 4.7 miles north of Highway 20 on Javine Hill road in Skiatook.

Osage County Tourism is a member of Green Country Marketing Association, one of 11 multi-county organizations working with the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association and the other multi-country associations to promote state tourism, an $8.9 billion industry.

— Jeanette Swindell, public relations consultant, Green Country Marketing Association