EVANSTON — The 81st annual Evanston Cowboy Days event took place over Labor Day weekend, and Cowboy Days Committee president Dustin Matthews told the Herald, “We’re calling it a success.” Matthews said that rodeo attendance was up all three days and he feels the entire weekend went really well.
The highlight of the weekend was a group of skydivers entering the arena to open the Monday afternoon rodeo with a patriotic tribute, which Matthews said worked out as he had hoped. He also said that the Saturday afternoon fish catch was a hit as always
“It was about as packed as we could handle,” he said.
Several rodeo contestants were qualifiers for the national finals, including some Wyoming cowboys. Local residents probably recognized the winner of the bull-riding competition, Wesley Silcox, from the Evanston Rodeo Series, and Matthews said, “He’s on to bigger and better things.”
One of the new events this year was the chili cook-off. Matthews said that while there were not a lot of contestants this year, those who did participate enjoyed themselves and there seemed to be a lot of interest generated in keeping it going for next year.
The Cowboy Days Committee now gets about a two-week break before they meet again on Sept. 19.
“Being on the committee is a year-round job,” Matthews said, “and everyone puts in lots of hours.”
He said he wants to emphasize the importance of local sponsors for the event.
“Our costs were just under $100,000,” Matthews said, “and ticket sales only account for about $30,000 of that. Without our sponsors, Cowboy Days wouldn’t happen.”
He said the City of Evanston is a great sponsor, and the committee is grateful for all those who continue to provide support.
“It’s not a money maker,” Matthews said, “but it’s an event that the community wants and deserves. As long as we can, we’ll keep putting it on.”