Make Plans To Meet In Watford City For Wild West Weekend!
September 20, 2023 | View PDF
The McKenzie County Cowboy Association is hosting the 2023 North Dakota Rodeo Association Finals on Friday, Sept. 22 and Saturday, Sept. 23 indoors at the new McKenzie County Ag Expo, Watford City, ND. With three rounds of rodeo, a western art and vendor show, a Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Kids Cowboy Bootcamp, mechanical bull riding and two nights of rodeo dancing, there will be fun for the entire family to enjoy!
The Western Art and Vendor show kicks off the weekend on Friday, Sept. 22 from 6-8 p.m. in the Ag Expo Exhibit Hall. Shop over 20 western artists and vendors specializing in western themes and gear from across the region. Explore large and small scale paintings, glass, leather, woodworking, hats, ropes, boots, boutique clothing, jewelry and more.
Right across the hall the first round of the NDRA Rodeo kicks off at 7 p.m. featuring the state's best cowboys and cowgirls competing in bronc and bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, breakaway roping, calf roping, barrel racing, bull riding and more. The High School Cowboys Wild Horse Race in memory of Coy Hepper is a must see at all three rodeos. Make sure you bring the kids for the boot race!
After the rodeo, Western Montana's retro classic country band, "Sam Platts and the Plainsmen," will be set up at the dance floor in the exhibit hall both Friday and Saturday night. The band has been regular performers at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV, and specialize in familiar western dance music and country standards. Sit and listen, take a swing around the dance floor or try your skills on the mechanical bull. A cash bar and concessions will be available both evenings.
On Saturday grab your breakfast at the Ag Expo at the Flannels and Flapjack Cowboy Breakfast benefitting a local charity. Contestants will be available at the breakfast for meet and greet and autograph signing.
The Western Art and Vendor show continues in the exhibition hall on Saturday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. with art demonstrations and classes scheduled throughout the day. Bring your kiddos to the Cowboy Bootcamp and Canteen where they can learn how to dress like a cowboy, saddle a horse, ride the bucking bull, rope and shop for cowboy essentials throughout the day. Then gear up for the next round of rodeo action at 1 p.m.
The Long X Arts Foundation will be offering a free cowboy kid craft throughout the day and hosts the Cowboy Poetry Gathering at 2 p.m. on the stage in the exhibit hall. Featured entertainers include North Dakota Poet Laureate, Denise Lajimodiere and four National Cowboy Poetry Gathering regulars: singer/songwriter, Sam Platts, Montana based troubadour DW Groethe, Medora cowboy poet Jonathan Odermann and local musician, Jessie Veeder. The event, which will wrap up with area powwow dancers, will feature stories, music and poetry that captures the life, humor and tribulations of working cowboys and cowgirls in the region.
The final round of rodeo will kick off at 7 p.m. in the indoor arena where the champion cowboys and cowgirls will be determined with the rodeo dance and mechanical bull riding to follow.
Tickets to the rodeo are $20 for adults and can be purchased at the door. Kids 11 and under are free. The Western Art and Vendor Show and Cowboy Poetry Gathering are free thanks in part to a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts and the Long X Arts Foundation.
Interested rodeo sponsors should contact Eva Hepper at 701-898-9801 or [email protected]. Western Art Show and Cowboy Poetry sponsors contact the Long X Arts Foundation at 701-770-8659 or email [email protected].
To find out more about the rodeo, performers, artists and vendors, community specials and schedule visit www.wildwestweekend.com.