NEW WINDSOR, Ill. (WTVO) — One of the oldest of the International Professional Rodeo Association rodeos in the country calls New Windsor home and it’s getting ready to return home for the 80th time.
It’s been a tradition there for 80 years.
“They took a couple years off for World War II when everybody was gone. But, otherwise, it’s been a continuous community event ever since,” said Michael Smith, who is the New Windsor Rodeo Chair.
He says those that decide to come to the rodeo will be treated to quite a show.
“It’s as good, or better, than the PBR [Professional Bull Riders show],” Smith said. “We are late enough in the rodeo season that the contestants are chasing points to get to the finals in Oklahoma. So, we get some of the top cowboys and cowgirls that are just on the cusp of going to the final. So, they’re trying their hardest to get there. So, we have some of the best contestants in the business here.”
Some of the hardest working contestants will be squaring off in a venue that has stood the test of time. Smith says that’s thanks in large part to some of the hardest working staff behind the rodeo.
“There’s a lot of time and effort. Starting the Tuesday after the 4th of July, board members come up and volunteer all of our time,” Smith. “We’re putting in a new arena fence, which you’ll notice if you’ve been here before. A lot of maintenance projects, and just trying to make it better for our spectators.”
Those spectators, Smith says, aren’t just limited to New Windsor natives.
They actually come from all different areas.
“We’ve had people from Hawaii, we’ve had people from other countries who have never seen a rodeo, foreign exchange students,” Smith said. “A lot of local people who come every year, because their parents came and their and their grandparent’s came. It’s tradition. Anybody, and everybody, comes.
“Come check us out,” he continued. “We are the oldest IPRA Rodeo in the country. For the price, you can’t beat the show you’re going to get.”