With August quickly approaching, it’s time to gear up for some rodeo action.
For the 84th year, That Famous Preston Night Rodeo will be taking place in Franklin County. Action begins Thursday night and will continue Friday and Saturday at the rodeo arena in northwestern Preston.
There is a nightly parade in Preston at 6:30. The rodeo action begins at 8:30 each evening. There are also specialty nights — Thursday is Pink Night, Friday is Patriot Night and Saturday is Cowboy Night.
“We are going to have another wonderful three days of rodeo,” said Kris Beckstead, the chairman of the rodeo committee. “We have some exciting acts and some of the best cowboys and cowgirls coming again.”
The Preston rodeo is part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), which draws many of the best in the world to southeastern Idaho. They are in the area this time of year because of the Days of ‘47 Rodeo, which is held in Salt Lake City, and Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming.
“We are a little bit later this year, but we don’t want to be too close to the rodeos on the 24th (of July),” Beckstead said. “So about every five years we are a little later.”
There is a long list of top competitors from the PRCA standings who are scheduled to be in Preston one of the days. However, there are no guarantees all of those entered will show up as sometimes traveling problems or other hurdles get in the way.
One of the rising stars in 2019 is Stetson Wright. The Milford cowboy is the youngest of the Wright family who is competing right now and the hottest. All of his family have etched their names in the saddle bronc event, which this 20-year-old — his birthday was Tuesday — does, but bull riding has become his best event.
The PRCA rookie became the first in his family to win an event at Cheyenne last week and actually claimed two new saddles as he won the bull riding and all-around titles. Wright entered this week ranked first in the all-around, second in bull riding and 18th in saddle bronc riding.
“I really think he is going to win the all-around (at the National Finals Rodeo) some day,” Beckstead said of Wright.
That might just be this December if he keeps up his winning ways.
Older brothers Ryder Wright, who won the NFR saddle bronc title in 2017, and Spencer Wright, who won the NFR title in 2014, are entered at Preston as well. Ryder Wright is currently first in the standings, while Spencer Wright is eighth.
Another big name entered is tie-down roper Tuf Cooper, who is currently fifth in the standings in his event. Cooper, who is from Decatur, Texas, has won three tie-down world titles and was the all-around champion in 2017. He is currently fourth in the all-around standings this year.
“Tuf Cooper is such a great guy,” Beckstead said. “He is so humble and thankful.”
Another all-around cowboy — you must compete and win money in at least two events — near the top of the standings is from Utah in Josh Frost. The Randlett cowboy is sixth. He is 11th in the bull riding.
A few other top cowboys entered include Garrett Smith (8th, bull riding), Shane Hanchey (4th, tie-down roping), Marty Yates (9th, tie-down roping) and Dakota Eldridge (13th, steer wrestling).
“We have a lot of the same big-name guys come back every year,” Beckstead said.
New this year at the rodeo will be another event for women. Breakaway roping is being tried at 35 PRCA rodeos this season. Preston was chosen as one of those to have the event.
“It’s fun and quick,” Beckstead said of breakaway roping. “It’s great that women get another event to compete in.”
There will be a familiar face in rodeo clown John Harrison. He has entertaining acts throughout the rodeo and has won several PRCA awards.
New this year is rodeo announcer Andy Seiler. He has been called “an up-and-coming voice for professional rodeo.”
“I truly enjoy being a part of an industry that embodies an American icon that is the cowboy,” Seiler said in a profile on the Preston rodeo website. “I grew up on a farm, loving the honesty, toughness, and the integrity that comes with the ranching and farming way of life and today’s contestants keep that tradition of yesterday alive.”
Also new this year is the specialty act which involves a big draft horse.
Once again the Bar T Rodeo company will be providing the stock. The Utah-based company is known for its bucking horses and bulls.
Tickets for all three nights are sold out, but there could be stand by tickets become available. Fans without a ticket can check each night at the main ticket office.