75th Annual Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo. By the time you read this it will all be over, it will be history. The story is that Will Rogers came to Vinita, Ok., to visit some ranchers and when the subject of a rodeo came up, he said, “Hold a rodeo next year and I’ll come back.” But before the year was up, he and Wiley Post had met their Maker in a plane crash.
I love rodeo week, the absolute highlight of the Vinita calendar, but I haven’t been to the rodeo itself in several years, and as it looks right now, I probably won’t make it tonight, the last night of the rodeo.
The rodeo parade takes place on Wednesday at 11 a.m. during rodeo week, to start the week’s festivities and it shuts down most of the town. Downtown Vinita streets are closed off to through traffic, which might not sound unusual, except it is Route 66, or Highway 60/69 through town, the main truck route, besides I-44. Trucks are backed up for miles as they are routed down the side streets around the parade.
Trucks give way to horse-drawn hearses, 1930’s tractors, and a long line of Rodeo Queens from the 1940s through present days. The Vinita High School band showed up as well as the Pom Squad and the high school and middle school cheerleaders. Many businesses drove the parade throwing candy to the little kids who lined the streets dressed in cowboy boots and hats.
Towns need to celebrated their heritage and their uniqueness. The towns who no longer celebrate no longer know who they are, and the townspeople find their town drying up around them, turning into a ghost town.
Jeremiah 29:7 “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Celebrate and pray for your town.