The 36th annual Memorial Day Weekend Stampede rodeos drew huge, possibly record-setting crowds for much of their three-day run late last month and produced top-notch performances that left spectators thoroughly impressed by what they saw, rodeo organizers said.
“Everyone, from what I could tell, was very happy with the show,” said Janna Lindig, president of the Bandera ProRodeo Association that sponsored the weekend festivities.
She said she believed the rodeos, which have been slowed by story weather in the past, produced record crowds on the first day and last day, May 24 and 26, and in the middle, on what is typically the biggest day on Saturday, filled up the stands again at the Mansfield Park rodeo arena.
“There wasn’t much room left in either of the stands,” said Lindig.
She felt that the rodeo crowds on Friday and Sunday “far exceeded what we’ve done before.”
The rodeo, which showcases the talents of professional cowboys and cowgirls from across the country, is growing again after encountering a rough patch five years ago.
Getting it organized and going every year has become a labor of love for association board members who work year-round to make sure that a town considered the Cowboy Capital of the World hosts performances of a professional rodeo every year.
Lindig said the rodeo also has drawn the support of a growing number of financial sponsors and more than 100 volunteers who make sure that all the details needed by a crowd-pleasing rodeo are taken care of.
“It’s a great community effort,” the association president, who works as the Bandera County attorney, said.
The total payoff to the winners of the rodeo events this year amounted to almost $34,807, which included a $2,500 supplement added to the prize winnings for six events and $5,000 added to the winnings of the team roping competition by the ProRodeo Association as a result of the financial support the rodeo has drawn.
The association also brought a new event to Bandera on Saturday, May 25, to exhibit farm livestock, give visitors pony rides and inform them about how farm products are transformed into commercial products.
The free event was called Get in Touch With Country and it too reportedly drew a big crowd after the annual Memorial Day Weekend Parade concluded nearby on Main Street in Bandera.
Agriculture has deep roots in Bandera County, and Get in Touch With Country was designed to remind visitors of how important agriculture still is, officials said.
For a list of the winners of the seven rodeo events that took place over the Memorial Day Weekend, please see a story on page 10 in today’s edition of The Bandera Bulletin.