Fried Food, Fairs, and Festivals
This Labor Day weekend, immerse yourself in the world of ProRodeo. From Elk City's energetic atmosphere to Dayton's community feel and Ellensburg's rich tradition, these rodeos promise unforgettable moments that encapsulate the spirit of the season. So gather your friends and family, and embark on a journey of Western culture that will leave you with cherished memories for years to come.
In 1980, Dr. J Pat Evans and Don Andrews collaborated to conceive a groundbreaking idea: a mobile sports medicine system designed to offer essential medical assistance to professional rodeo athletes across various arenas nationwide.
This revolutionary concept established a comprehensive sports medicine network, interconnecting a carefully chosen group of emergency physicians, orthopedists, trauma specialists, athletic trainers, physical therapists, and physician assistants, as well as hospitals and clinics across the entire country. The primary aim was to deliver all-encompassing medical support to professional rodeo contestants wherever they competed.
Today, the Justin Sportsmedicine Team® has been the saving grace for many rodeo competitors as they travel all across the United States bringing a state-of-the-art mobile medical facility unit to rodeos.
The Elk City Rodeo of Champions committee is a dedicated group of volunteers responsible for organizing the annual rodeo in Elk City during Labor Day weekend. With 25+ members, they generously invest their time, skills, and resources to host an event that attracts over 15,000 attendees each year.
These members are all volunteers, often taking time off from their paid jobs to contribute to the community's rodeo. Their dedication extends to their families, with spouses, partners, mothers, and children also pitching in wherever needed to ensure a seamless event.
The committee members are deeply involved in all aspects of the rodeo's execution, from securing sponsorships and managing tickets to overseeing advertising and handling personnel matters. Their commitment is rooted in preserving the cherished tradition of the Elk City Rodeo, a legacy they are proud to uphold.
What To Do And See When You’re There:
Beutler Rodeo Hall at Elk City's Old Town Museum
Located at: 2717 W 3rd St, Elk City, OK 73644
For more than nine decades, the Beutler name has symbolized rodeo excellence. Originating in the 1930s, their journey as rodeo stock contractors evolved into a five-generation legacy. With a debut in 1929 at the Custer County Fair Rodeo, Elra, Jake, and Lynn Beutler committed to the pursuit. They established a reputation for exceptional livestock, precise performances, and introducing renowned entertainers into their productions.
Tour the museum and see four generations of Beutler family heritage.
The Dugout C Store
Located at 1032 W 3rd St, Elk City, OK 73644
There are a wide array of restaurants and dining in Elk City. However, if you’re not drawn to Elk City yet, then the next recommendation is for you. The best way to cool off is by going to The Dugout C Store and ordering “Crack in a Cup.” This consists of homemade soft-serve ice cream mixed in with a soda-flavored slushy.
For over eight decades, the Dayton Rodeo has embodied tradition, determination, and community spirit, shaping it into the exceptional event it is today.
In 1937, three young cowboys - Allen Porter, Duane Vegors, and Vern Danielson - sparked a legacy. Armed with big dreams and modest talents, they wowed park picnickers with rope tricks. As their audience grew, so did their aspiration to mesmerize and the need for a bigger stage.
By 1942, they shifted to Porter’s Pasture, where wire marked the arena and the dirt served as seating. Collecting $14.72 from hat-passers and an extra $5.00 from local kids, their total of $19.72 marked the birth of the Dayton Rodeo.
Within seven years, the event outgrew the location and shifted to the golf course, causing tensions with golfers. Progressing, improvements were made, and by 1955, a permanent venue was established south of town. The rodeo's prominence rose, attracting riders nationwide. The Dayton Celebration Committee, comprising of Wrangler members and Dayton Community Club representatives, was formed.
Today, the PRCA-sanctioned rodeo offers $40,000+ in prizes, drawing top-tier competitors and spirited crowds. Skilled cowboys, great stock, and volunteers from the Dayton Community Club, Dayton Wranglers, and Dayton Fire Department ensure the event's triumph.
What To Do And See When You’re There:
Fun In The Park
Located At: 105 Oak Park Rd, Dayton, IA 50530
In conjunction with the Dayton Rodeo, there will be a professional rodeo experience, fireworks after every night performance, entertainment by professional clown - Gizmo McCraken, trick riding entertainment by Cowgirl Sweethearts, wild horse races, Justin Mutton Bustin’, junior bull riding, kids corral, carnival, vendors/flea market, a city-wide garage sale, and more.
The Ellensburg Rodeo stands as one of the esteemed "old rodeos," solidifying its position among America's elite Top 10 professional rodeos. Furthermore, it's a vital stop on the PRCA's Xtreme Bulls Tour. Originating in 1923 with the same volunteer-driven fervor that continues to propel present-day volunteers, the rodeo's evolution has seen it expand from a local contest for ranch hands to the prestigious Professional event it is today. The competition now draws over 600 participants, vying for a prize pool exceeding $400,000.
The rodeo showcases the premier riders and ropers of our time in an arena frequently hailed as the nation's finest. The opening performance on Friday night begins in the evening and concludes under the shimmering stars. The Saturday and Sunday afternoon performances pulsate with energy beneath the radiant blue sky. These events lead into the Labor Day Monday Championship Finals.
What To Do And See When You’re There:
Manastash Ridge Trailhead
Located At:7321 Cove Rd, Ellensburg, WA 98926
Manastash Ridge, spanning 50 miles between Ellensburg and Yakima, boasts cliffs and elevations from 3,800 to 6,300 feet. The northwest segment, 16.7 miles from Quartz Mountain to Blowout Mountain via Mount Clifty, offers varied hiking options. Beginning at Quartz Mountain summit, trail #1388 showcases views of Little Naches River valley and Mount Rainier. Choices between the "most difficult" and "easy" segments exist, but the latter shortens the journey. Panther Ridge at 3 miles is halfway between Quartz and Mount Clifty. Clifty's summit at 6245 feet comes after 4.5 more miles, followed by the option to continue to Blowout Mountain for a total of 9.2 additional miles. Look for chipmunks, swallowtails, and red admirals, and enjoy wildflowers and diverse forest cover. Some sections are steep, and water sources are unavailable.
Justin proudly supports the Justin Mutton Bustin' because we believe it's a great way to foster the future generations of rodeo athletes and their love for the sport. With kids like the competitors seen in the championship, our goal is to encourage growth and spark interest from inside and outside of the agricultural community. Justin Mutton Bustin’ is open to kids ages four to seven years of age and must weigh below 55 lbs. Each contestant entered gets a Justin buckle and bandanna, while the winner receives a pair of Justin boots.
Join us in cheering on the young cowboys and cowgirls as they give it their all in the Justin Mutton Bustin at the 2023 Sanders County Fair & Plains PRCA Rodeo.