The 2013 Gainesville Rodeo, a longtime staple among local livestock enthusiasts, does more than just give the folks a good time.
The show ultimately benefits area organizations in need of money. Proceeds from a weekend of ticket and vendor sales generally result in tens of thousands of dollars for the Gainesville Riding Club — whose officials present the funds to agricultural clubs and agencies such as Cooke County United Way and volunteer fire departments.
The rodeo is set for Sept. 13-14, at Gainesville Riding Club, 3152 N. Grand Ave., having had its dates shifted from August so that the audience can enjoy the show in cooler weather. Highlights will include live music, food and drink, a pageant, a calf scramble, mechanical bull riding, junior barrel riding and a “mutton bustin’” competition for children.
Rodeo chairperson Robin Levison termed Gainesville, and north Texas, as central locations in the “horse country capitol” of the United States.
“It allows promotion of the equine environment in our community,” Levison said about the Gainesville rodeo. “It allows for all ages to enjoy different venues of the equine industry and it provides promotion and stimulation of the Gainesville area and local business.”
This year, organizations set to benefit from rodeo proceeds are local 4-H clubs, Future Farmers of America, Angel Tree, Boys Club, Ropin’ Dreams, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Meals on Wheels. In a related interview, organizer Donny Wilson said the event has always been more than just “roping and riding” for its own sake.
“I don’t think people realize that the contributions go into education and helping needy families around the county,” he said. “And it’s not just our rodeo, but tons of rodeos around the country put their money back into the community.”
Wilson added that the rodeo life is a considerable part of Gainesville’s heritage, has always been part of his life and, among younger people inclined to participate, is one of the better local activities they could choose.
“The biggest benefit is, it gets them outside and keeps them away from the TV and games,” Wilson said. “We’ve got opportunities for kids to see that maybe they might want to ride horses and get involved.”
This year’s rodeo grand marshal is Tyrel Turner, visiting from Shoshoni, Wyo. A lifelong rodeo competitor, he claimed the title of “College National Finals Champion Steer Wrestler” in 2005. He credits his steer wrestling success to Doc Kid Curry, his horse of 19 years and one that carried two cowboys to national championships at the collegiate level. In 2010, Turner moved to Texas with his wife Shawna.
On Sept. 12, 2011, Turner sustained a traumatic brain injury in a vehicle accident. Reportedly, doctors did not expect him to survive — much less be able to walk, talk, or eat on his own. Now back on his feet, Turner represents a journey of more than two years that has served as an example of determination and will power. His future goals include winning steer wrestling events at Cheyenne Frontier Days and qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo.
For more information about the rodeo’s competition and entertainment lineup, visit www.gainesvilleridingclub.com.