Cap Gates Arena in Crossett will be the scene of the Crossett Riding Club PRCA Rodeo, starting Wednesday, August 12.

CROSSETT, Ark. — Rodeo week in this southern Arkansas community means many things for many people.

Hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls venture in from all over the country for the competition, and locals make plans and have family gatherings around the four performances of the Crossett Riding Club PRCA Rodeo, set for 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 9-Saturday, August 12, at Cap Gates Arena in Crossett.

“We’re a very small community, and this is probably the biggest event for this community,” said Marty O’Fallon, chairman of the volunteer committee that organizes the annual rodeo. “Everyone around here looks forward to it.

“This rodeo’s been going on for 69 years, and the weekend we do it always marks to the town the end of summer for our community. Everybody looks forward to that week because they have one big thing left before they go back to school.”

It’s also a recognized thing in the world of rodeo, and the hard-working staff at Pete Carr Pro Rodeo makes sure it happens.

“They bring the best bucking stock in the industry,” O’Fallon said. “That helps draw the contestants. Our rodeo is on the biggest week of PRCA rodeo, and we still have the top names coming to Crossett.

“Over the past two or three years, we’ve averaged between 10 and 15 past world champions in our rodeo. That means a lot to us because they have three or for more large rodeos to enter and they still come here.”

That’s because the cowboys and cowgirls want to be in Crossett in early August.

“They tell us that it’s because of the professional stock that’s here and the hospitality they get from the committee,” he said. “We do the very best to accommodate our contestants to try to make them feel welcome.”

It has worked, just has the bag of silver dollars that is awarded to the top rides and top times in each event each performance. It’s a tradition that’s been part of the rodeo for 34 years.

This year’s festivities include a new local event. Groups from around the area will participate in calf dressing — one night will feature local riding clubs, one will be local banks and one will be municipal departments (fire, police, sheriff’s, etc.) from the area. The three winners will advance to the championship on the final night of Crossett’s rodeo.

“We’re going to have a trophy made that will list the winners of our local event each year,” O’Fallon said. “It will be permanent and whoever wins it gets to keep it for another year.”

It’s another reason the Crossett Riding Club PRCA Rodeo is such a powerful community event.