Roundup Rodeo features top athletes

Cowboys and cowgirls are going to pull up their bootstraps in Dodge City, Kansas, and provide rodeo fans a slice of the National Finals Rodeo.

Roundup Rodeo activities are scheduled for July 31 to Aug. 5 at the Roundup Rodeo grounds, 608 S. 14th Avenue The event is interwoven with Dodge City Days and Dr. R.C. Trotter, president of the board of directors of the Roundup Rodeo Inc., has been to every rodeo since 1982 and is eagerly awaiting the 42nd performance.

“This is a very high level rodeo,” Trotter said of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association six-day event. “It is coordinated with Dodge City Days as part of a week full of fun activities.”

Dodge City Days is one of the Midwest’s best-known events, he said, and the support from many volunteers, the private and public sector is impressive and carries over to the Roundup Rodeo.

The rodeo draws about 30,000 people annually and starts at 7:45 p.m. each day. On July 31 is an Xtreme bulls and freestyle bullfighting contest. The traditional rodeo starts Aug. 1. The Aug. 5 performance is the Budweiser Championship Finals Night.

The athletes will be there to hear the accolades from the fans. The event will culminate with the presentation of championship buckles from the B&S Trailers’ stage.

“Our championship night is as good as it gets in Vegas,” Trotter said.

The payout to the athletes is estimated to be from $350,000 to $400,000.

Dodge City beckons

But that’s not the only draw to the event, he added. “The cowboys come for the money, the mystique and the prize buckles. It’s Dodge, it’s the West,” Trotter said of Dodge City Days. The Roundup Rodeo captures the imagination of cowboys and fans alike. “You hear ‘Get the heck out of Dodge’ and now we say ‘Get the heck into Dodge’ for good reason,” he said.

People come to see Boot Hill Museum. With planned upgrades, the museum will continue to feed an appetite for the western mystique that was re-enforced through the television series Gunsmoke. “We are a tourist town and we recognize that,” Trotter said. “Tourism is good for the community.”

In Dodge City, the convention and visitors bureau, the city, Ford County, corporate sponsors and all the businesses work together and those efforts benefit the city and county, he said.

“People will come here to eat and stay as part of the experience,” he said. “It is huge to our economy.”

Dodge City Days and the Roundup Rodeo provide an estimated annual economic impact of $2.5 million.

Besides the sports attraction the rodeo and its connection to cowboys and the western lifestyle is something Trotter appreciates. When he travels and wears his western attire it draws positive comments and many other friends have voiced similar views.

“The cowboy is still an iconic person,” he said. “They stand for God, their country and they will take their hat off when greeting a lady. Everyone can identify with what the cowboy stands for.”

Kickoff concert

A Dodge City Days Kickoff Concert will be headlined by country star Justin Moore and will also feature up and coming singer Mike Ryan. It is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. July 28, at the United Wireless Arena.

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“We changed the concert to United Wireless Arena,” Trotter said. “It will be in a comfort controlled environment. Dodge City Days deserves a top of the line concert and the United Wireless is an excellent venue for concerts.”

Another two-day event occurs on July 28 to 29 with high school-aged bareback and saddle bronc riders at the Roundup Arena, Trotter said. The event is a national qualifier for those young athletes to compete at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Roundup Rodeo and activities

Gates open at 6 p.m. with the rodeo starting at 7:45 p.m. each day.

July 31 is PRCA Xtreme bulls and freestyle bullfights as the nation’s top bull riders compete in a winner-take-all contest.

Aug. 1 is family night with a $3 hamburger feed and fireworks after the rodeo.

Aug. 2 is Pizza Hut and Pepsi Night with a personal pan pizza for a $3 suggested donation.

Aug. 3 is Wrangler American Pride and Cargill Family Barbecue Night with a $3 brisket sandwich and all the fixings. It is also a military night to honor Vietnam War-era veterans.

On Aug. 4 there will be a belt buckle auction to benefit future rodeos. It is also the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night”—a fundraiser to help fight breast cancer. In the past 11 years the rodeo has raised more than $200,000 and all of the proceeds go to the locally based Circle of Hope that serves southwest Kansas. Earlier in the day, at 9 a.m., is the annual Longhorn Cattle Drive along Wyatt Earp Boulevard sponsored by the Boot Hill Casino and Resort, Dodge City Convention and Visitors Bureau and Hi Plains Feed LLC.

Familiar faces and voices will also be part of the production. The Vold Rodeo Company, based in southern Colorado, will provide the rodeo stock. Boyd Polhamus will be the announcer. He has been the voice of the National Finals Rodeo 18 times and has been named PRCA Announcer of the Year four times. The sound effects producer is Benje Bendele.

A popular returnee will be clown Cody Sosebee, 13-time nominee for PRCA Clown of the Year and Comedy Act of the Year. He was selected to be the barrel man at the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The native Arkansas rancher was a successful athlete before he was the barrel man. He won the International Professional Rodeo Association Rookie of the Year title in 1991 and the association’s world championship in bareback riding in 1993.

Entertainment includes the WI-FMX freestyle motocross riders. Combining new age, portable ramps with tradition farm work ethic, the Wisconsin-based operation provides an entertaining thrill act performance inside the arena.

For ticket information and prices, call 620-225-2244, 866-327-6336 or visit

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].