82nd Lawton Rangers Rodeo draws in record number of entries despite pandemic

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 6:55 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - The Lawton Rangers Rodeo has returned to southwest Oklahoma for its 82nd year with a record number of entries: 800 competitors have signed up.

The Lawton Rangers Rodeo is the largest rodeo happening in the country this weekend. Because the pandemic has put a damper on the season, the athletes are hungry for competition and hope to qualify for the national finals in Las Vegas.

“We have a record number of entries. Over 800 entries,” said Kelly New, a Lawton Ranger board member. “We have nine current or former world champions, plus I don’t know the number of NFR qualifiers here.”

Don Armes, an honorary Lawton Ranger, said they are taking proactive measures to help increase safety for all who come to the event.

“I think the things I’ve noticed that we’ve been doing are like some special restrooms, some things like that. Sanitation, obviously. Hand washing, things like that,” said Armes. “The normal stuff that you’re going to do anywhere you go right now under the circumstances that we’re living with.”

However, one thing that is not required is wearing a mask.

“I think obviously we’d all say a mask is probably not a bad thing right now, but I don’t think there’s any requirement,” said Armes. “Again, it’s an outdoor venue. Very safe, very easy to social distance here. Lots of room in the stands, and so I think there’s plenty of room for people to get out and enjoy the event and have fun and keep this 82-year-old tradition going.”

The Lawton Rangers Rodeo kicks off Tuesday at 4 p.m. with the slack events, which are free to attend.

The competition continues Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 each night. Wednesday, they will be charging $5 per carload.

The action will be taking place at LO Ranch Arena.

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