ALTUS, OK (KSWO)- The Altus Air Force Base kicked off the 19th annual Cattle Drive. It was for the delight of airmen and their families from all over the country, stationed at the Base.
One by one nearly three dozen longhorns clopped down the streets of Altus, and onto the base.More than 50 cowboys and cowgirls, along with base leaders came out to herd the stampede on a three-mile drive. It's a tradition that dates back to 1999.
"This is the most exciting and amazing event that we do here at Altus Air Force base, not only for us but for the community as well," said Whitfill.
97th Mission Support Group Commander, Colonel Lance Whitfill participated in the event for the second year in a row. His favorite part is the cattle drive.
"This is what I love to do. These horses and these cattle are a great time but we get to show off not only our base and Southwest Oklahoma as well," said Whitfill.
Command Chief, Sergeant Philip Eckenrod said it's an event the base and the city of Altus look forward to each year.
"It shows the strength and the strong relationship we have with our community partners.The community embraces us like no other I have ever been around. We love doing this, we love doing this with the community of Altus, and it's something the 97th Air Mobility Wing looks forward to," said Eckenrod.
Altus Air Force Base is the only base in the nation that organizes a cattle drive.
"Just getting the chance to come out here and have our airmen take a break from their jobs and spend some time to smile and enjoy the community," said Eckenrod.
The cattle drive kicks off the 40th annual Great Plains Stampede Rodeo this weekend in Altus.
"Well I like calf roping. I was born and raised on a dairy farm and calf roping is what its all about to me," said Whitfill.
The rodeo started at 6 p.m. with a Military Appreciation program, and a free BBQ dinner. The rodeo is set for 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Cowboys and cowgirls will show off their skills bull riding, barrel racing, bronco riding, tie-down calf roping and steer wrestling.
On Saturday, a parade will be held at noon on Main Street in Altus. Rodeo team members will be wearing pink, and raising money for breast cancer.
Rodeo President Chris Cary said its exciting for all who come out.
"Oh its a blast, its a good good time. Its something for everyone to do at the rodeo, its a family event come on out and see us its a lot of fun," said Cary.
Children 12 and under get in free at the rodeo, and its $10 dollars for general admission, and $15 for box seats.