PRETTY PRAIRIE, Kan. (KSNW) — Saddle up! This week, a Kansas town is in the spotlight, hosting one of the biggest rodeos in the state. And this annual event means big business for the area.
For the 84th year in a row, Pretty Prairie is the center of the Kansas rodeo scene. It’s the best show in town and a point of pride for the community.
“Pretty fun. I like watching the mutton busting,” said Dylan Koester, a rodeo participant.
Thousands packed into the Pretty Prairie rodeo for the first night of what is about to be a busy week for the small Kansas town.
For organizers, it’s a year-long preparation process.
“Our hope is they come to our small town, they enjoy some small-town hospitality and some great rodeo action,” said Julie Graber, event organizer. “And it’s just fun to see kids smile and actually kids of all ages smile.”
For the Pretty Prairie community, it’s the highlight of the year. “You know it’s amazing, you know the town has been about 600, 650 forever and yet we’ll draw 15,000 over the course of four nights,” said Rick Kraus, who has been attending the rodeo for over 50 years. “So that shows you how important this is as a function for the greater area around Reno County.”
“Everybody’s just cleaning up, getting ready to go and making sure that everything is great when everybody comes in,” said Darcy Beer, Pretty Prairie Steakhouse manager.
The rodeo also brings one of the best weekends of the year for local businesses.
“It’s very good for business in the steakhouse,” Beer said. “In fact, this year, on Friday night, I’m limited on my walk-in seating. I’ve already got reservations that pretty much have me full until about 8 o’clock.”
The rodeo has seven individual events each night, from mutton bustin’ for the kids to bull riding and barrel racing.
The rodeo continues through Saturday, and the gates open at 6 p.m. The action begins at 8 p.m., but once the dirt stops flying, break out your dancin’ shoes because there is a free dance each night after the rodeo.
For more information on Pretty Prairie Rodeo, click here.