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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • PCC?Rodeo starts today

  • Starting today, the field north of Pratt Community College will become more than just a field. With more than 600 participants descending on Pratt for the annual Rodeo, the normally empty field will transform into an oversized parking lot, filled with trucks, trailers and animals in every direction.


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  • Starting today, the field north of Pratt Community College will become more than just a field. With more than 600 participants descending on Pratt for the annual Rodeo, the normally empty field will transform into an oversized parking lot, filled with trucks, trailers and animals in every direction.
    “If you’ve never seen the fields north of the college, the rodeo participants park their trucks and trailers, and the City of Pratt does a wonderful job partnering with us in providing a place for all the athletes to park their vehicles,” said Jim Stratford, vice president of instruction at Pratt Community College. “It’s something to see, all those kids parked up there.”
    Parking won’t be the only logistical problem the college will face. With a record number of contestants coming to Pratt and more than 700 events, the rodeo administrators are hoping there will be enough time in the three-day span to get to everything.
    “So we’re up to our eyeballs in rodeo participants,” Stratford said. “The major problem is the amount of time to get everything in. They’re anticipating running slack even after the rodeo performance in the evening. So they may be going out here until midnight or after just to get everything in.”
    The PCC rodeo has been an annual tradition in Pratt for many years, with the event serving as both a community event and an athletic event at the college. With so many people coming to town for the three days, the economic advantages are obvious.
    “It’s quite the community event and a tourism event really, bringing in lots of dollars to Pratt,” he said. “They’ll be eating here, sleeping here, doing everything in Pratt for all three days.”
    The rodeo program at the community college level is unique, because they compete against contestants at all academic levels. So, in addition to other community colleges making the trip out to Pratt, Stratford is expecting the event to draw from a pool of universities and four-year colleges as well.
    “Rodeos are kind of a unique setup in that the community college teams compete against the university teams,” he said. “So we’ll have Fort Hays State contestants out here and Kansas State, and others, from the university teams. Rodeo is also unique in that students can participate for three years if they want to. In many cases, we have students that stick around for a third year if they need to complete an academic program or whatever.”
    This year’s Pratt team will travel all over the Midwest competing in rodeos just like Pratt’s. The team consists of around 30 scholarship members, with some competing for the team and the team score, while others compete as individuals.
    The event costs $5 each day, with a weekend pass costing $15. Stratford said it is the perfect way for families to enjoy some local entertainment without breaking the bank.
    Page 2 of 2 - “That’s pretty cheap entertainment for some people who want to come out and see some action,” he said. “There’s some really good contestants and lots of fun things – we’ve got barrel racing, goat tying and all the steer wrestling, and of course the clowns. There are just so many things going on, it’s great fun for families.”
    The first rodeo performance starts at 7 p.m. tonight, with slack starting earlier in the day.

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