The 42nd annual Pioneer Days Rodeo kicks off its three-day run today at Curry County Event Center.
Around 290 competitors are entered in the rodeo, which begins with “slack” competition today in steer roping.
Slack means there are more entrants than can be squeezed into the regular sessions, so they are accommodated with extra sessions.
Regular performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.
“This is the first year we’ve had a matinee performance,” said Jerry Fulgham, president of Curry County Mounted Patrol.
Fulgham said their are several Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association championship-calibre performers scheduled this weekend, including nine-time PRCA all-around champion Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas.
In addition to the regular events such as bareback riding and steer wrestling, the rodeo also includes mutton busting for children 9 and under, a wild cow milking contest for locals and, on Sunday, a businessman’s cow milking contest, said Kevin Clements, vice president for Mounted Patrol.
“There are three or four people who will be shooting for the all-around (title),” he said.
Even though the field is smaller than usual, Clements said it’ll still be strong.
“We had more entrants last year,” he said, “but our performances are still full.”
Saturday’s rodeo parade is scheduled for a 10 a.m. start on Main Street, and will be followed by a “chuckwagon cookoff” at the Events Center, Clements said.
Tickets each day are $20 for “premium” seats, $15 for reserved seats and $10 for general admission, with spectators 10 and under allowed in for free in general admission only. There is a $2 discount for advanced tickets, which can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce, One Stop Feed and, in Portales, Bar G Western Wear. Premium and reserved seats will only be sold at Joe’s Boot Shop.