It wouldn't be a Texas summer without rodeos and the Texas Panhandle is coming together this weekend at the 77th annual XIT Rodeo and Reunion.
It all began in the late eighteen hundreds when the XIT Ranch was the biggest ranch in the world, covering ten counties across the Panhandle, and totaling around 3 million acres.
The sport of rodeo evolved from get-togethers like this one, where ranch hands and their families would hold reunions, busting broncs and roping steers while reminiscing about life on the ranch.
XIT Rodeo Director, Jason Swan said the rodeo committee's goal is to keep the reunion alive.
"This is what Dalhart comes alive for. They call it XIT Days." said Swan "The town just comes alive whenever XIT comes around."
Tradition continues as the XIT directors host the 77th annual XIT Rodeo and Reunion in Dalhart, Texas. It's full of top Professional Rodeo Cowboy's Association competitors both four legged and two, free food to die for, and other fun events.
The Rodeo committee was also proud to announce they have a new stock contractor this year, Frontier Rodeo Co. bringing in the best of the best stock and cowboys.
"Just this weekend I've met some of the guys that I looked up to when I was rodeoing, like Jake Barns." said Swan "Whenever I was an up and coming team roper he was my idol, so it was neat to shake his hand and get to meet him."
Dalhart and other surrounding area locals are not the only ones who enjoy all that XIT has to offer, people come from all over the world!
"Last night, Thursday, August 1, 2013, there were three guys from France," said Swan "It was their dream to go to a rodeo, because they had never seen one before. It was so cool to let them walk in and see our show."
With tractor pulls, live music, and dances you don't want to miss out on this event!
Of course a rodeo is not complete without a rodeo queen as an advocate. The XIT Rodeo Queen, Shelby Spielman has been working hard all year, traveling and inviting people to join in on the fun. Girls are competing for the title of XIT Rodeo Queen 2014 throughout the event.
"Queen Contestants have to do an interview where they ask you questions about the history of the XIT Rodeo and Reunion as well as the ranch and how it really all was started." said Spielman "They also have to complete a horsemanship contest where they run two patterns, a set pattern and freestyle, on their horses."
The girls are judged with 50 points from their riding skills and the rest of their scores are from personality and helping out. The new Queen will be crowned Saturday, August 3, 2013.
With fun for the whole family and the opportunity to be part of a tradition, XIT Director and President, Chris Bell said it's really about the community.
"It's about the people and bringing a community together. We have so many volunteers that come out here to help cook and serve the food." said Bell "There's nine directors, but there's a whole community behind us that makes this happen."
The festivities end Saturday, August 3, 2013 complete with a parade in the morning, the world's largest free pit barbecue, and the final performance for the PRCA rodeo.
To find out more information about the XIT Rodeo and Reunion you can visit their webpage.