For the third year in a row, Conway is host to the PRCA Rodeo.
PRCA Rodeo officials wanted to make the event even bigger this year by expanding its marketing and advertising efforts and incoporating more activities and games for the youth. The PRCA Rodeo is scheduled for this Friday and Saturday, with a 7:30 p.m. start time on both nights.
"We’ve really reached out to the Hispanic community this year," PRCA Rodeo announcer Dale Hancock said. " There are more Hispanic riders and supporters now than there has ever been. The Hispanic culture leans to rodeo, so we had to get help to reach out to the community. We really didn’t know how to get the word out and thankfully we had people to help with that. Also for the first time, a Hispanic radio station will be broadcasting live. We’ve been well-received in the Hispanic community and we’re thankful for that."
Along with extending a greater invitation to the Hispanic community, PRCA Rodeo officials connected with all of the media outlets in Little Rock and surrounding area to push the event. This year, there will be a calf and boot scramble for the youth. The boot scramble is for children ages 6 and under, and the calf scramble is for ages 7-12. Those activites will be before the actual rodeo begins, and during intermission. Along with the boot scramble, PRCA officials added pony rides and a petting zoo for the youth.
"We wanted to focus more on the kids this year," Hancock said. "We just had the calf scramble last year, but we wanted to break that up into two age groups. We didn’t want those younger kids to get kicked or hurt by a calf. So we’re going to let them take off their shoes and pile them up at one end. Then the first ones that can go find their shoe and put it on and run back down to the end where the clown is, then they’ll get the prizes. Instead of giving money, because some kids don’t know what it is, we are going to give away two bicycles each night. Everybody knows what bicycles are."
Hancock has been a ring announcer for the PRCA Rodeo for 15 years. He used to be a bare back rider for 23 years, so he knows what it is like to have good livestock at a rodeo. All of the livestock will be provided by Tom Reeves of South Dakota again this year. Many of the bulls that are coming back will be on ESPN at the end of the year at the National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas. Many of Reeves’ horses will be there as well.
"Tom has won many awards and national titles, and he’s in the Rodeo Hall of Fame," Hancock said. "His company is Wild Card Rodeo Company and we’ve worked with Tom on many rodeo events in the past, so the competitors and riders should enjoy his livestock."
Since there is limited seating at the arena, Hancock is encouraging fans to bring lawn chairs and get to the event early. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. All of the proceeds made from the rodeo will go to a charity in Faulkner County.
"We really thank our sponsors for sticking with us with the economy the way it is," Hancock said. "They are the reason that we can charge $10 instead of $45 like they do for tickets in Little Rock. With the prices that we have, parents are able to come and have a good time without having to worry about going to the bank before."