LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - The Stephens County fairgrounds was packed as the PRCA Prarie Circuit Finals Rodeo got underway, featuring some of the top rodeo professionals from Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas.
Chairman Joe Henderson said Duncan, and other areas feature a ton of rodeos throughout the year, but none of them mean nearly as much as the circuit finals.
“For the 12 contestants from OK, KS and NB and for the people petitioning to be here, this is a stepping stone to the national finals, and it’s also a stepping stone in qualifying for the national circuit finals in Florida,” said rodeo Chairman Joe Henderson.
For these riders, Henderson said it’s more than just qualifying for future rodeos, it’s also a big money maker for the winners and for the city of Duncan.
“These contestants will share roughly $175,000 in prize money, so it’s a big money weekend, prize money rodeo and a big economic boost for this area. For our community, it’s almost a three quarter million dollar tax impact, after you consider the hotels and food," said Henderson.
One person at the rodeo who gets a front seat to the action is Greg Simas, who announces rodeo’s across the region, and he said there’s something special about the one in Stephens County.
“In my opinion, I’ve announced a few circuit finals, this is my 13th in a row that I’ve had the pleasure to carry the mic on, and the caliber of contestants, the caliber of the rodeo people will see is one of the best, if not the best circuit finals in the country," said announcer Greg Simas.
“We are dealing with one of the top ten announcers, one of the top three funny men and one of the top five bull riders in the country, so we have the best of the best here this weekend,” said Henderson.
Simas said he loves being a part of the rodeo, and being so close to the action. He said his goal as an announcer is to show these audience members how hard these contestants work, and how much they’ve improved over the entire season.
“I’m trying to take what people see in the arena, and explain it in layman’s terms, and give them some history over our Western Sports history, and let them know what has gone into this season. This is the pinnacle for their season, and they are pushing for that next level," said Simas.
The rodeo continues Friday night at 7:30 P.M.