It's almost time for Dodge City Days and this year's festival will be bigger and better. That was the news announced Thursday at a joint press conference held by the Dodge CIty Days committee, Roundup Rodeo, Landmark National Bank and Family Care Clinic.
John Bogner, chair of the DCDays committee, began by recounting how the first Dodge City Days celebration came about in 1960 when the Boot Hill Fiesta, which took place in May, and the rodeo, which took place in late summer, were combined into a single event.
Bogner reminded everyone that festival guides, lapel pins (which serve as admission to many DCDays events) and t-shirts are available at the Chamber office, which is located at the corner of Third and Spruce.
Bogner also announced that Gus Crump, one of the founders of the festival, will serve as parade marshal for the 52nd annual parade.
The 22nd annual barbecue contest will follow the parade.
Another anchor event for the festival is the Q97 concert. This year's concert features Jerrod Niemann with special guest Gwen Sebastian.
A new event, Party in the Park, will feature a variety of foods from different cultures and a variety of entertainment.
Also new this year is "Salute to the Troops Night." The evening, returning to Wright Park, will feature a hamburger feed followed by entertainment from Kinsey Sadler in the bandshell. The new event replaces Summer Sing.
Another twist to this year's schedule moves the arts and crafts show to Village Square Mall.
"Downtown Dodge is being being worked on and so we thought this would be an opportunity to get the show indoors," Bogner said.
Hit the dirt
Dr. R.C. Trotter, president of Dodge City Roundup Rodeo, began by describing improvements made at the arena thanks to funding from Community Facilities Advisory Board organizational funding.
"We've already moved the fence, which will allow us to accommodate more vendors. We'll do an electrical upgrade and we're adding new premium seating over by the bucking chutes," Trotter said.
In an effort to provide additional things for tourists to do, Roundup is offering "Western Experiences."
"We'll get them up close with the animals and let them see what rodeo's all about," Trotter said.
Roundup is partnering with Cowboys and Corrientes to provide the experiences and two additional ranch rodeos are also part of the schedule.
"We're trying to give people more to do, hoping they'll stay another night in town," Trotter said.
Trotter also mentioned a list of honors awarded to the local Roundup committee, including their upcoming induction into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
Listing the features of this year's rodeo, Trotter mentioned there will be slack run every morning. He also listed the rodeo pros who will help put on the show.
Page 2 of 2 - Troy Lerwill, billed as The Wild Child: Rodeo Clown, Bullfighter and Cool Dude, will entertain, along with John Payne, the one-armed bandit, a popular act returning for another appearance.
The Knights of Columbus will host a breakfast benefit for Tough Enough To Wear Pink, the last Sunday morning of Dodge City Days, followed by a horseshoe pitching contest.
In another new event, Roundup is partnering with Q97 for the La Kebueno Festival, a special concert on July 27 featuring La Sonora Tropicana, la Autororidad De La Sierra and Sueno Norteno.
"We've got an updated Web site and we're posting on Facebook — we're trying to get information out there so Dodge City can get the recognition it deserves," Trotter said.
All about the image
Jeff Oliphant, president of Landmark National Bank, described two components of DCDays in which the bank participates: the graphic art poster contest, which is in its 7th year, and the Western Art Show, in its 19th year.
Oliphant announced this year's guest artist at the bank will be Larry Case.
"He works in pencil and also in oil, doing mostly modern ranch scenes depicting the people, their animals and the land," Oliphant said.
Oliphant also acknowledged the bank's new partnership with Family Care Clinic as sponsors of the Dodge City Roundup poster contest.
Wrapping up the conference, Oliphant announced this year's winners: 3rd place, Brendan Wenzl, 2nd place, Zach Norton; and 1st place, Todd Durler.
"We'll have the winners and all the other entries at the bank during the Western Art Show," Oliphant added.
For more information about many more Dodge City Days events or the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo, pick up a festival guide at the Chamber offices or visit the Web site www.dodgecitydays.com.