The first night rodeo ever in the United States is still going strong as this week Preston, Idaho presents its 76th Annual Famous Preston Night Rodeo, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights (July 28-30). Crowds totaling close to capacity are expected each night. Pre-events start at 8:15 p.m., the rodeo begins at 8:30 p.m.. Doug Webb, vice chairman of the rodeo committee, has served in some capacity on the committee for over 40 years. “It brings a lot of people back to the Preston area for several activities, in addition to the rodeo. A lot of class reunions are always part of this time of the year.” Webb said the entry list includes over 300 cowboys, with 10 to 12 entrants in each event. “We have 50 of the top cowboys in the country, including three or four world champions, set to compete in our event.” Arena capacity is about 5,000. “Saturday night we’re usually sold out and last year on Thursday we were comfortably sold out; we could have squeezed a few more people in. And Friday also. We’re guessing about 14,000 total will attend the three nights.” A total purse of over $76,000 in prize money is available. “We contribute about $4,500 for each of the events and the cowboys kick in to the purse to participate. They pay money to ride the bulls and the horses. They have the opportunity to take home some pretty good prize money.” Reserve seat tickets are $8 (Thursday), $10 (Friday) and $12 (Saturday). A $22 ticket admits the whole family plus half price tickets are available for children in the reserved seats. “Thursday and Friday nights there are reasonable prices for children in the general admission section. We have tried to keep ticket prices family friendly.” Webb said last year the rodeo weekend included the first ever “All Horse Parade” and that will be repeated this year. “We will do that on Friday this year and we hope to have an even greater participation.” The Rodeo Days Parade is each night at 6:30 p.m. There is a downtown sidewalk sale each day plus the “City of Fun” carnival, helicopter rides, the Annual Preston City Amateur Golf Tournament (Friday and Saturday) and Saturday’s Chuckwagon Breakfast from 7-10 a.m. Grand Marshal for the parade and rodeo is Carol Parker, manager of the Preston Senior Citizen and Community Center.
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