In 1923, during the annual Old Soldiers Reunion being held in Sidney, Henry and Earl Tackett offered to furnish some entertainment with a real rodeo. Model T cars, buggies and fencing formed a temporary arena and the Tackett brothers rounded up the wildest horses in the area, presented a grand show, and were paid $50 each for their bumps and bruises.
Veterans returning home after World War I had organized the Williams-Jobe-Gibson American Legion Post #128. Legion members who were interested in promoting the community made the decision to become producers of Sidney Iowa Championship Rodeo in 1924. They built a small grandstand, went to South Dakota to bring back bucking horses, at $3.50 a head, and to Texas for wild bulls. They also purchased a few quarterhorses and these were kept year-round on the Legion’s small farm.
Attendance grew rapidly by the late 1920s, the grandstand was enlarged and spectators were charged a small admission. Professional cowboys came to compete and trick riding acts and other specialties were added. For many years the grand entry included the presence of Native American tribesmen in full tribal dress, usually from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.
In 1931, the addition of electric power at the arena made night performances possible. The livestock has been supplied by stock contractors since 1952. A small carnival and midway were added, publicity was increased and rodeo spectators came from far away to attend, staying in the homes of Sidney residents, as did the cowboy contestants. Churches and food stands provided home cooked meals, and a carnival and flea market were added. From 1959-1992, nationally known TV stars and singers were a special attraction during rodeo performances.
For many years Sidney Iowa Rodeo has been a PRCA Rodeo. It is held in one of finest facilities in the nation, with new pens, ample parking, a covered grandstand, vendors, tram service and more. The contestants, stock, provided by the Cervi Championship Rodeo Co., clowns and specialty acts are among the nation’s best. Young children, as well as the crowd, delight in Mutton Bustin’.
Tent dances will be held at the Sidney Legion Club following the Thursday, Friday and Saturday night performances. Brooke Turner from the Clarinda area is performing Thursday night, and Emmett Bower from Lincoln, Nebraska, will be performing Friday and Saturday nights. Each evening of Sidney Rodeo will have a spectacular performance by the Two County Dusters, a youth equestrian drill team. At the end of the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances you will be excited and thrilled by Freestyle Bullfighting, which is sanctioned by Wrangler BFO.
Justin Rumford, Ponca City, Oklahoma is the clown/barrelman this year. He has many credentials including-Coors Man in the Can for the third time (2013, 2015, & 2018) and the PRCA Clown of the Year for the 7th consecutive time in 2018! He was also named the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Barrelman.
“Sidney Rodeo Days” will be Saturday, August 3, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. around the town square. Some of the activities at this new event will be: freewill pancake breakfast (8:00 – 10:00 a.m.), kids’ face painting, bounce houses, beer gardens at The Silver Spur and Whip’s Steakhouse and Saloon, flea market (8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.), Story Walk hosted by Growing Strong Families, live music (11:00 a.m. – 6 p.m.), and Junior Rodeo Clown Contest (11:00 a.m. on courthouse lawn for boys K-6).
The Sidney Rodeo parade will begin at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, August 3, around the Fremont County Courthouse square in Sidney.
The museum, located at 609 Cass Street, will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during Rodeo Week for all visitors to experience the history of Fremont County as well as Sidney Rodeo and its history.
The 2019 Sidney Iowa Rodeo will be July 30 through August 3 at 8:00 p.m. each evening. Call 712-374-2695 for tickets or information. Tickets may also be ordered on online at www.sidneyiowarodeo.com. Ticket prices are $15-$25.