35th PRCA Great Plains Stampede Rodeo - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

35th PRCA Great Plains Stampede Rodeo

Altus, Ok_The city of Altus kicked off rodeo festivities, Thursday, with a touch of tradition.

The 15th annual cattle drive took over the Altus Air Force Base marking the beginning of the 35th annual PRCA Great Plains Stampede Rodeo.    

Local Air Force personnel got a chance to be a part of the fanfare as over 30 longhorn cattle and 40 horseback riders paraded onto the pavement.

"There's a tremendous amount of work that goes into events like this. They make it look easy," said Altus Air Force Base Commander Colonel William B. Spangenthal. 

Several other military personnel were transformed into new horseback riders, creating a unique experience for everyone involved.   

It's the only event of its kind in the entire world and something that air force officials are proud of.  "It's a great way to partner up with our community who gives us such tremendous support and enjoy a little time together," Spangenthal said.  "I know the folks on base really enjoy this event."

Even schoolwork was put on hold as dozens of elementary students came out to see the show.  "I saw the cows with big horns and they're like that tall," one child said.  "I like it. It's good. It's really cool, it's really fun," replied another.

Livestock owner Bull Watkins has ridden in the event every year and he said it's about more than just corralling cattle.  "It just shows people a little bit of what the heritage was of this country.

Someone had to carve a hole in it and our forefathers did that and they did that by driving cattle cross country where they could get profits, make some money and come back," Watkins said.

The cattle drive is just the beginning of the annual rodeo which starts Thursday night at 8 p.m. and runs through Saturday.

Tonight is military appreciation night at the rodeo.  Military personnel will be competing in rodeo events and ticketholders will be treated to a free barbeque dinner.

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