PRETTY PRAIRIE – Every July, Pretty Prairie transforms from a small Kansas town into a worldwide destination for one of the largest four-day rodeo events in the Midwest. Organizers have been busy recently polishing up the Pretty Prairie Saddle Club Arena ahead of the 85th edition of Kansas Largest Night Rodeo, July 20-23.
Gates open at 6 p.m. all four nights, with rodeo action at 8 p.m. and a free dance to follow for ticket holders. The popular classic country and red dirt band Prairie Smoke is back to perform for a third year on Friday and Saturday.
Rodeo organizers strive to offer something for everyone in the family. Wednesday and Thursday are family nights with children 12 and under admitted free. The first 500 kids through the gates receive a real contestant back number. Prizes will be given away both evenings to winning numbers.
Kids ages 4 to 7 and not exceeding 65 pounds can try their hand at Mutton Bustin. Registration is open from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and 10 contestants will be chosen nightly to ride.
In the arena, cowboys and cowgirls from all over will make their way to Pretty Prairie to compete as part of the Kansas PRCA Championship Rodeo Series. Fans can cheer on their favorite competitors in events such as bareback riding, steer wrestling, teaming roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing, and bull riding.
Local talents Jacob Welker of Pretty Prairie and Wacey Muncell of Ulysses return as bullfighters and Justin Rumford of Abbyville as the rodeo clown. Muncell is a multiple-time nominee for the PRCA bullfighter of the year, and Rumford has been named the PRCA clown of the year a record-setting 10 times. Together the three will entertain the crowd while keeping the competitors and each other safe.
The rodeo week also boasts a half marathon. In fact, a total of five races are scheduled to take place on the morning of Saturday, July 23rd. Other distances include a four-mile run, and a one-mile run or walk, along with half-marathon and four-mile bike rides.
All races begin at 204 E. Main St in Pretty Prairie. The half-marathon starts at 6:30 a.m., the four-mile races at 7:30 a.m., and the one-mile walk or run begins at 9 a.m.
Need tickets? They remain very affordable. Advance tickets are available online at https://www.pprodeo.com/tickets or from the Arena Ticket Office at 202 N. Elm St. in Pretty Prairie.
Thousands of fans from all over the world will make their way to Pretty Prairie this week to experience Kansas Largest Night Rodeo. It’s a tradition steeped in small-town pride and one that gives back to the community all year long.