Rodeo’s elite ready for Roundup

Each August, Roundup Rodeo announcer Boyd Polhamus opens championship night by introducing most of the world champions that are competing for that year’s Dodge City title.

Over the last decade, there have been hundreds of gold buckle-wearing souls that have been part of the final night of Roundup Rodeo. In that time, 20 of those titlists have walked away with at least one Dodge City title, and there are a handful that have won the championship twice.

In all, those world champions and Roundup winners over the last 10 years account for 50 gold buckles. They are men like Clay O’Brien Cooper, a seven-time world champion and a hall of fame inductee. They are men like Cody Wright, a two-time titlist whose sons, Rusty and two-time champ Ryder, have also won Roundup. They are women like Jordon Briggs, who utilized her earnings in western Kansas to claim the gold buckle last year.

That’s the kind of competition fans have come to expect at Roundup, set for 7:45 p.m. Aug. 3 to 7, at Roundup Arena; Dodge City Xtreme Bulls is set for 7:45 p.m. Aug. 2.

Why do so many elite cowboys and cowgirls make their way to western Kansas every August? Because Roundup is one of the greatest rodeos on the planet and has been for a long time. Ten summers ago, the rodeo was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and is a nine-time winner of the PRCA’s Rodeo of the Year.

“We take a lot of pride in the rodeo we produce in Dodge City,” said Dr. R.C. Trotter, president of the volunteer committee that brings the contestants to town. “We have tremendous support from our sponsors and this community. Because of that support, we’re able to have a payout that’s attractive to all the contestants.

“They’re traveling all over the country going from one rodeo to another, and they’re paying nearly $6 a gallon for diesel … more in some places. We want them to make their way to Dodge City, so we have one of the top purses in rodeo.”

That’s not all. Contestant hospitality is also at a premium in Dodge City, and the committee does things that go above and beyond for the cowboys and cowgirls. This year, the rodeo is adding ladies breakaway roping to the competition.

“Breakaway roping has shot up in popularity, and we thought this year would be a good time to add it to our rodeo,” Trotter said. “It’s going to add a fast-paced event to our program, and I think the fans are really going to like it.”

It’s just another move that proves why Roundup remains one of the elite events in ProRodeo.