Claremore’s Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo was honored as a top five finalist for Medium Rodeo of the Year by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) at annual awards banquets held in Las Vegas prior to the start of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
This marks the second year Will Rogers Stampede has been nominated for PRCA Medium Rodeo of the Year, following an unprecedented six years as the PRCA Small Rodeo of the Year. Nominees for each category are selected by rodeo contestants. Other finalists for Medium Rodeo of the Year included Weatherford, TX; Joseph, OR; Red Lodge, MT; and Guymon, OK.
Held over Memorial Day weekend, the Will Rogers Stampede celebrated 77 years in 2023 and is the third-longest running event in Rogers County.
“We are immensely proud to be acknowledged as one of the nation’s top-five rodeos, standing alongside four other exceptional rodeo events,” said David Petty, Rodeo Chairman and Vice-Chair of the Rodeo Arena Cooperative. “Each year, this awards ceremony allows us to come together and celebrate rodeo’s rich legacy and bright future. We are excited to also celebrate the achievements of many who help ensure the success of the Will Rogers Stampede each year.”
Drawing 750 contestants and an estimated 15,000 spectators, the rodeo was held May 26-28, 2023, at Stampede Park at 13601 E 480 Rd. in Claremore, OK. Rodeo celebrations included the Boots on the Boulevard event, live concerts and other community activities.
In addition to the Medium Rodeo of the Year honor, the Will Rogers Stampede celebrated the nomination of several contractors whose support is vital to the success of rodeo weekend. These honorees included:
- Stock Contractor of the Year – Pete Carr Pro Rodeo
- Clown/Barrel Man of the Year – John Harrison
- Secretary of the Year – Sandy Gwatney
- Timer of the Year – Sandy Gwatney
“The Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo is known for its family-friendly culture and dynamic history, making it one of the region’s most popular and anticipated annual events,” said Tanya Andrews, Director of Visit Claremore. “Our dedicated committee and volunteers work tirelessly throughout the year to ensure that we host a world-class event, and achievements such as this are a testament to those efforts. We look forward to another great year of rodeo celebrations and invite everyone to join us in Claremore on Memorial Day Weekend in 2024.”
The Rodeo Arena Cooperative, a partnership of the City of Claremore and Rogers County Board of County Commissioners, with the support of local donors, have made significant infrastructure improvements to the rodeo grounds over the past several years, including investments in new lighting, seating, parking, roads and rodeo structures.
“The support from our community is a huge component to our success,” said Petty. “We are honored to bring this honor home to Rogers County and look forward to a bright future for the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo.”