DODGE CITY, Kan. â€“ In the world of rodeo, there are a select few events across North America where a championship holds a little more prestige.
The Dodge City Roundup Rodeo is one of those.
â€śThis is an awesome rodeo, and itâ€™s a good time of year,â€ť said bareback rider Steven Peebles, a five-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Redmond, Ore. â€śThey have lots of good horses. Everybody who rodeos knows about Dodge City. Iâ€™ve always wanted to win this rodeo.â€ť
Peebles won the first round and finished with a two-ride cumulative score of 169 points to claim a share of the title with fellow Oregonian R.C. Landingham of Pendleton. They are expected to be in the lineup to defend their titles at this yearâ€™s rodeo, set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, July 30-Sunday, Aug. 3, at Roundup Arena.
They will be joined by nine other contestants who hope to leave this western Kansas community with another Roundup buckle, one of the most honored trophies in ProRodeo.
â€śI like this arena,â€ť said tie-down roper Jerome Schneeberger, an 11-time NFR qualifier from Ponca City, Okla., who has multiple Roundup titles. â€śItâ€™s always been good to me.â€ť
In fact, Dodge City is one of the reasons Schneeberger owns more Prairie Circuit championships than any other tie-down roper in the history of the ProRodeo Circuit System â€“ he owns eight titles in the region that encompasses contestants and rodeos primarily from Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska; Roundup Rodeo is the biggest event in the circuit.
â€śWe take a lot of pride in our place in rodeo,â€ť said Dr. R.C. Trotter, chairman of the volunteer committee that produces the annual event. â€śWe work very hard all year to put together an event that not only is great for our fans, but also for the rodeo cowboys and cowgirls. We celebrate our champions, and we want Dodge City to be the place to be every year.
â€śWe have a great list of Roundup champions, including many, many world champions, and that means a lot to us. Itâ€™s a sign that the best of the best work very hard to win our rodeo every year.â€ť
Of the 2013 champs, one is saddle bronc rider Cody Wright, a two-time world champion from Milford, Utah. Last August, Wright posted one of the highest marked rides of his 16-year career, a 91-point ride on Frontier Rodeoâ€™s Tom Gun.
â€śAnytime you can start winning, especially at a big rodeo and a tour rodeo so that you can stay in the race, itâ€™s great because there are so many great bronc riders,â€ť Wright said.
It marked the second time that the Utah cowboy has won the Roundup buckle; he also won the title in 2003. He is one of many of rodeoâ€™s brightest stars who own multiple Dodge City championships. But there also are plenty of guys like steer wrestler Seth Brockman who own just one crown.
â€śDodge City is a great rodeo, and itâ€™s one we all want to win,â€ť said Brockman, a 2011 NFR qualifier from Wheatland, Wyo. â€śIâ€™ve never done too well here. I placed good in a round here (in 2012), so I guess I finally learned how to put three good runs together here.â€ť
If possible, the 2014 version of Roundup Rodeo will feature a bigger week of entertainment, including world-class entertainers the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls and Justin Rumford, the two-time Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Clown of the Year. Rumford, who grew up in Abbyville, Kan., also won the 2013 Coors Man in the Can, an annual award given to the best barrelman in the business.
The biggest change in the schedule will be the Tuesday extravaganza, which will include a full day of roping followed by the inaugural Dodge City Roundup Xtreme Bulls, a stand-alone bull riding event that will feature the top bull riders in the game. Steer ropers will open with the first two go-rounds starting at 8 a.m. The third round will begin at 4 p.m., followed by the Dodge City Roundup Pro-Am Team Roping. The bull riding will close a full day of action.
â€śWe will have six straight days of rodeo action,â€ť Trotter said. â€śI love that we will have our pro-am Tuesday, which will get a number of our local guys involved. It is exciting for us.â€ť
Itâ€™s exciting for everyone, from the worldâ€™s greatest cowboys and cowgirls to the fans who want to enjoy a solid week of entertainment.