Pecos – The sounds. The intensity. The smell. There’s nothing like a rodeo. And if you add the title of the World’s First, then you must be checking of The Texas Bucket List in Pecos.
“It’s just something we like to do, we enjoy it,” Tiffani Rodriguez.
Brenda McKinney is a 4th generation Texan that helps out with the tough task of putting together the West of the Pecos Rodeo, a tradition that can trace its roots all the way back to 1883.
“The tradition is so rich, and the history goes so far back,” Brenda said. “And rodeo is a sport that’s helping preserve that rich cowboy history.”
This rodeo has been roundup for so long that it takes the championship buckle.
“It all started back in 1883, some local hands that all gathered at a saloon and were talking about who the best roper was, who the best horse rider was, so they decided to set a date and have a competition to see who would earn the rights to those bragging rights,” Brenda said. “They set a date of July 4th, 1883, and had a little competition, and the rest is pretty much history. That’s where it all started. There’s a rodeo in Arizona, and they call themselves the oldest rodeo. They too I believe started around 1883. But I believe it was a little after our rodeo.”
While a rodeo in Prescott held in 1888 is recognized for its prize structure and charging admission, Pecos was still earlier.
“There’s only one place that’s home of the world’s first, that’s Pecos, Texas,” Brenda said.
On the last weekend of June, thousands pour into Buck Jackson Arena to see some of the best bronc riders, ropers and steer wrestlers around despite it being a bit warm.
“And a lot of people said, ‘Why haven’t you moved to rodeo when it’s cooler,’” Brenda said. “Well, that’s a part of the rodeo in Pecos. Everybody expects it to be hot. It’s always this time of the year, people know what it’s like in Pecos, but that doesn’t stop them from coming to the West of the Pecos Rodeo.”
Today, it’s the best of the best that come to Pecos to put on a show that you can get a great seat for.
“They love the huge outdoor arena,” Brenda said. “They love that they can be so close to the ground, to the dirt, to the action. When you sit in some of the box seats that we have, there’s times that you’re gonna have dirt thrown right in your face.”
This one weekend means the world to this town. A chance to represent who they are and the traditions that have been carried on in this part of the state for a very long time. For rodeo clowns and spectators alike, the West of the Pecos rodeo is a must-see stop on the Texas Bucket List.
“It’s a part of the tradition of the rich ranching history to be able to claim to be home of the world’s first rodeo and have such an event like we have every year,” Brenda said. “It’s something that kinda puts Pecos on the maps, and it’s a piece of history that nobody can take away from us.”