Wild West Days Rodeo continues to grow
STURGIS — As familiar as backyard barbecues and chatting over fences, rodeo has long been a part of life in the Midwest.
In 2009, World Champion Tom Reeves and Wild Card Rodeo approached Dr. Stuart Johnson about starting a professional rodeo in Sturgis.
“A small committee was formed and the event has continued to grow each year,” Johnson said.
The event, Johnson said, was created to bring business and revenues to Sturgis and surrounding areas.
“Our city has months that are slower for local business and bringing an event with 400 plus contestants and 2,000-3,000 fans is very good for the local and area economy,” he said.
Johnson of Sturgis Chiropractic is the president of the committee and says he has a great committee that gets larger each year. Local business men and women and the Sturgis Chamber of Commerce donate 1,000’s of hours each year to make this event successful.
“Some committee members put in 300-400 hours per year individually to make an event of this size happen,” Johnson said. “It takes year around planning to produce an event of this magnitude.”
He says there are numerous sponsors promoting their business at the event through program guide ads, banners, flags and a professional announcer broadcasting the business’ brand. The committee has fundraisers, such as an NFR Sendoff Party in the fall to raise money for the event. And, many food and western apparel vendors are part of the event also.
Johnson has taken care of the fundraising in the past and has help now from Dr. Jay Heeren as well as Amanda and Cindy Richardson.
Rodeo fans will be pouring into Sturgis June 19 through 21 to watch PRCA cowboys and cowgirls take part in the Sturgis Wild West Days, Johnson said.
Starting off the festivities at noon on Friday will be PRCA Steer Roping followed by a PRCA Rodeo Performance at 7 p.m.
PRCA Slack initiates Saturday’s schedule at 8 a.m. followed by a parade at 11 a.m., a Kids Play Day with or without a Horse from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and a PRCA rodeo performance at 7 p.m. and WPRA Barrel Racing Slack following the performance.
On Sunday, Sturgis Wild West Days has an Open 4D barrel race. Exhibitions will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., open to youth 14-years-old and younger.
“The committee has joined with the Boots and Saddles Club to have a Kids Play Day on Saturday, June 20, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sturgis Fairgrounds,” Johnson said, “to get families and our city more involved with the event as well as create a fun, positive experience for youth and families.”
PRCA and WPRA approved, the 7th Annual Wild West Days rodeo events include bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie down roping, team roping, barrel racing, bull riding and saddle bronc riding.
At 6 p.m. each evening prior to the performance will include 15 mutton busters. Entries are at the Crows Nest prior to the event upon arrival for 7 and under.
In addition to the WPRA Sidepot (WPRA permit only), the event will also be featuring stock provided through Burch Rodeo Company out of Wyoming. Raising rodeo horses since 1981, the Burch family purchased their PRCA card from Sutton Rodeo in 1999, adding bucking bulls into their organization.
Featuring their high quality bucking horses and bulls, they will be bringing their A Team of Saddle Bronc Horses to the event, including stars such as Lunatic Fringe and Lunatic From Hell.
Children of all ages will have the opportunity to be entertained by PRCA Rodeo Clown Rocket Ryan Litwin. This will be his fourth appearance in South Dakota’s West River country.
According to his website, Litwin is a two-time CBR World Finals Barrelman who has worked every major PBR Touring Pro Event in the country (over 100 events) as well as the PBR Australia Tour and PBR Canada Tour.
Rodeo fans may purchase tickets at Sturgis Chiropractic, First Interstate Bank or at Sturgis Chamber of Commerce. Advanced tickets for Adults $15 and kid prices are at $5. At the Gate tickets $18 for Adults, $6 for Kids and $40 Family Package. For additional information, please check out their website at http://www.sturgiswildwestdays.com.
Johnson said the Wild West Days Committee would like to encourage the citizens of Sturgis to come out and support this exciting local event.