The annual Fourth of July Rodeo has long been a staple in Marshfield, and this year will be no exception. But when the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce began organizing the 2015 event, they had one thing in mind — going bigger and better.
The idea was simple, better entertainment brings in more people, and more people in town benefits the community in a bigger way.
“We’re really trying hard to provide the best entertainment,” said chamber of commerce vice president Chris Owens. “We want to promote our businesses here in town. The best way to do that is to simply bring people in.
“We want to have attractions like the rodeo that bring people in and then they spend money here in town.”
Owens, one of the event organizers, said people attending the rodeo — which runs July 2-4 — this year can expect to be entertained from the moment they arrive until the moment they depart for home.
This year’s event is an American Cowboys Rodeo Association- and International Professional Rodeo Association-sanctioned rodeo.
“It’s really a competitive association,” Owens said. “This is just a step below the (National Finals Rodeo) caliber. We’re going to see real professionals from all of the bordering states competing in about nine different events across the three days of the rodeo.
“People are going to get to see a little bit of everything. We’ll see bull riding, bareback riders, barrel racing and a lot of other cool events.”
Of course, there will be plenty of entertainment before, during and after the rodeo each night to keep patrons engaged and coming back for more.
Local band Vineyard Road will be performing on Marshall Street at approximately 6:30 p.m. Thursday before the rodeo begins. And on Friday night, a Little Mr. and Miss Cowpoke showcase will take place at approximately 7:45.
“It’s going to be really neat,” Owens said of the Cowpoke event. “We’re going to have little kids coming out and riding stick horses and competing for the audience just before the rodeo.”
And what would a Fourth of July rodeo be without fireworks? The rodeo will conclude Saturday with a bigger and better fireworks display at approximately 9:30.
In addition, the annual Rodeo Queen, which was announced June 28, will lead the grand entry of the rodeo each night, and will be available for pictures throughout the event.
Also, for the first time ever, the Springfield-based Trixie Chicks trick riders will be performing each night of the rodeo. And Owens believes the group could be the biggest draw of the weekend.
“They are really cool to see,” Owens said. “They’re actually associated with Missouri State University, so they’re local. But they travel all over the country performing at rodeos. It’s going to be pretty special to have them here.”
In addition to all of the added entertainment, Owens said this year patrons will find even more food vendors within the fairgrounds. There will also be retail vendors inside the fairgrounds pavilion this year.
And, for the first time in several years, the chamber of commerce will be providing food inside the pavilion.
“The chamber used to cook food at the fairgrounds,” Owens said of past events. “But then they went away from that and just left it to the vendors. That’s worked very well. But some of the complains we heard last year were that people just wanted a cheeseburger and they couldn’t get it. The chamber head those complains and they’re responding. We will be the only vendor at the rodeo selling cheeseburgers, hot dogs and things like that, as well as Coke products.”
“The community has been very supportive this year,” Owens added. “This has certainly been a community event. We’re hoping for another good year.”
The Fourth of July Rodeo runs nightly from July 2-4 at the Webster County Fairgrounds in Marshfield. Gates open at 6 p.m. each night with the rodeo beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the gates for adults, and $5 in advance and $7 at the gate for children age 6-12. Kids 5 and under get in free. Tickets are available at various retail locations around Marshfield.