Ropin' and Ridin' at Blackwell's Youth Rodeo

by Charles Gerian

Blackwell once again hosted the Oklahoma Youth Ranch Rodeo Association for a two-day rodeo event at the end of September. The event took place at the county fairgrounds on Main Street.

The Oklahoma Youth Ranch Rodeo Association is a non-profit organization “aimed at promoting Christian principles and ranch rodeo to our youth,” event organizer Melissa Miller said.

“In short, the next generation of ranch workers are learning real-life skills and principles in a family-friendly, fun way,” she said.

The organization has close to 110 members. Miller said the youngest member isn’t even in preschool yet “but can drive cattle with the best of them.”

“We have several members that are in their senior year of high school and are working on ranches already,” she said.

The rodeos are hosted by the parents of the organization’s members. The cost of entering the organization is low thanks to donations of stock for members to use. The Kay Electric Community Foundation, also known as K-UP, gave the organization a grant to purchase a new sound system, helping to reduce the amount of money members have to pay.

In the events that took place Sept. 26 and 27, people from as far away as Texas and Minnesota participated.

The next rodeo event is scheduled for Oct. 17 and 18, and it will also take place in Blackwell. It will be the organization’s final event in Blackwell for the season. There is no admission charge to attend the event.

The organization will hold its finals rodeo on Oct. 24 at the 101 Ranch rodeo grounds in Ponca City.

The organization moved to Blackwell in May after the coronavirus pandemic began. Members made repairs to the fairgrounds’ horse arena, which hadn't seen its fencing repaired since the 1980s.

“The City of Blackwell has been so supportive of us,” Miller said.

For more information about the organization, check out its Facebook page, “Oklahoma Youth Ranch Rodeo Association.”