XIT Rodeo & Reunion begins its 78th year

The dance hall for the XIT Rodeo and Reunion where visitors can two-step or three-step after enjoying the rodeo.

The XIT Rodeo is in its 78th year of celebrating cowboy tradition reminiscent of cowboy lifestyle lived on XIT ranch years ago. Now, the celebration rodeo and reunion holds true to its Texas roots with tradition and history.

â??Itâ??s all about Texas. Youâ??ve got cowboys and barbeque and rodeo and itâ??s what Texas is. Itâ??s such a big part of the culture and the history in this area,â?? said Jason Swain, Asst. Rodeo Director. â??Thereâ??s so much tradition behind the rodeo and reunion here. With the free feeds, the empty saddle tribute that we do during the rodeo, and just being a part of the history of the XIT ranch as it continues today.â??

With a new stock contractor, the rodeo arena was able to get a facelift. The PRCA show will now be hosted in an arena with a new announcerâ??s box and six new chutes in hopes to attract better contestants and bigger crowds.

â??Itâ??s huge for bringing people in. I mean, the hotels and stuff here are full. I mean, theyâ??ll fill up late May, early June. I mean this is what this whole town comes alive for in the Panhandle,â?? said Swain.

The community is not involved in reaping the benefits of the visitors coming into the area, but they also supply the volunteers, fundraising and support to help make the XIT rodeo and reunion happen.

â??Dalhartâ??s businesses support this so well. They support it and we get donations, sponsors, advertising, and we do fundraisers all year in order to pay for it,â?? said Jimmy Wright, president of the XIT rodeo and reunion.

Itâ??s an event that the lovely ladies competing for the title of Queen of XIT Ranch and Rodeo said is like a holiday for their town. Rodeo clown, Backflip Johnny, said that the rodeo is something that appeals to all ages, making it a timeless event.

â??The good thing about rodeo is, I donâ??t care if youâ??re nine-years- old or 90-years- old, youâ??ll still enjoy it. And the price that youâ??ll pay for the Dallas Cowboys, you can bring your whole family here,â?? said Backflip Johnny.

Going forward the nine directors said plans are already underway for next year and that they hope the rodeo will continue to grow, expand, and improve.