•Roughstock events — like bull riding — offer the most action
•Rodeo cowboys like to hang around Old Town Clovis
Here is everything you need to know before heading out to the 101st Clovis Rodeo, with help from rodeo barrelman JJ Harrison.
What to see
It depends on how much rodeo action you can handle. There is a hierarchy of events, based, in part, on how crazy a cowboy has to be to compete in them, Harrison says. The “roughstock” events are at the top of the “crazy” list. That’s the bull, bare back and bronc riders. On the other side are the team ropers and barrel racers.
To enjoy the show
Look to the clown for free stuff. Harrison’s trailer is stocked with cardboard boxes full of things he collects from his sponsors. The giveaways are his way of initiating crowd interaction, especially the kids.
For the best rodeo watching, closer is always better, Harrison says. But sitting directly in front of the arena has its drawbacks: dirt. “And there’s always the chance of poop,” he says.
During the roughstock events, watch the cowboys’ feet. That’s where all the points are scored.
Novice fans can get a quick education at the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association website.
What to wear
If you want to look the part of the cowboy, don’t wear high-water pants, Harrison says: “People will know it’s your first rodeo.” They leave no protection for your boots.
Belt buckles are an iconic part of rodeo. The one Harrison wears is black, silver and gold, and he got it at last year’s Clovis Rodeo. But unless you’ve earned or won that gigantic buckle, you should probably stick with what comes on the belt, he says.
Shirts are typically buttoned down and long sleeved, although short sleeves are acceptable in the heat. “That said, you’ll see guys with tank tops and flip flops. Everybody’s welcome,” Harrison says.
Meet the cowboys
The Clovis Rodeo doesn’t have an official meet and greet with the cowboys, but fans will have no trouble finding them. They’ll be walking the rodeo grounds and Old Town Clovis.
The 500 Club and Bobby Salazar’s work closely with the rodeo and are likely spots to find cowboys hanging out after the events, Harrison says: “If you see someone that looks like a cowboy, ask them if they are in the rodeo. Ask them a question.”
Fun outside the arena
While the rodeo events are the obvious attraction for the weekend, there is plenty to do before and after the action.
Before each day’s events, the Coors Light stage will feature live music. Richfield, 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 24; Kevin Blake Willard and the Cadillac Cowboys, 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 25; and Whisky Row, 12:30 p.m. Sunday, April 26.
Country singer Frankie Ballard is the concert following the rodeo Friday night.
On Saturday, the Clovis Rodeo Parade starts at 9:30 a.m. in Old Town. That night, there’s the “rodeo after party” in the park area at the rodeo grounds with tri-tip sandwiches, cold drinks and music from KSKS Country’s Gnarley Charlie. The Clovis Rodeo Dance, which features Chris Curtice and Wild Horses, starts at 7:30 p.m. at Rodeo Hall.
The Special Kids Rodeo is at noon Sunday at the rodeo grounds.