The Crossett Riding Club recently celebrated its 70th year of riding and their 70th rodeo, and the members plan to keep the Crossett PRCA Rodeo alive — even if that means moving the dates.
“The rodeo has changed, and now it’s time for us to change with it,” CRC President Belvin Hamm said.
Hamm said the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association has limited the number of rodeos that cowboys and cowgirls can attend, which means hosting the rodeo in August limits what kind of competitors would want to attend, or even be eligible to attend the Crossett Rodeo.
Now that the season has been adjusted — making August events later in the season — some cowboys are already either maxed out for the year or going to bigger rodeos in an attempt to rack up the largest number of last minute points or dollar amounts possible.
The registration for events was extremely low this year, and the CRC recognized that in order to keep the rodeo alive, a change was vital, Hamm said.
Even though it only gives the club 10 months to plan an event that usually takes every minute of 12 months, the decision has been made to move the rodeo to May.
“We expect to have most, if not all, of the top 15 bull riders next year,” CRC member Donnie Strebeck said.
Hamm said the CRC has been preparing the change for a little while, but only publicly announced it Monday.
“We had to check on a few things, and I had to call and make sure our specialty acts could make the move,” Hamm said.
The CRC books the specialty acts years in advance and currently has the next three years already on the books.
“We would really like to get the One Armed Bandit down here for our 75th, maybe his daughter too,” Hamm said. “We will just have to see.”
In addition to hosting the rodeo earlier in the season, the Crossett event will follow a huge rodeo event in Springfield, Mo.
“We’ve made it easy for them to come right here after they finish up in Missouri and then head out to Texas or wherever,” Hamm said.
Large rodeos are typically scheduled for the first week of June in Mesquite and Gladewater, Texas.
Hamm said he believes the change will substantially impact the quality of the rodeo and will be a decision that keeps the rodeo alive for many years to come.
The new dates for the Crossett Rodeo will be May 29- June 2, and next year’s specialy act will be Back Flip Johnny, a rodeo clown who has a few interesting tricks up his sleeve.
Back Flip Johnny, a former marine from Texas, is one of the top talents in Pro Rodeo and he is known for his “quick wit” that keeps crowds laughing and his feature acts that include a variety of interesting things from skunks to stunt cars.