EVANSTON — Old favorites and new events await attendees of this year’s Evanston Cowboy Days, which kicks off on Friday. Dustin Matthews, president of the Cowboy Days board, was excited to share details on the upcoming jam-packed weekend.
This year will again feature three days of rodeos and perennial favorites like the kids’ fish catch, the Rotary pancake breakfast and the downtown parade. This year will also see the debut of a Friday night chili cook-off. According to Matthews, there will be both individual and business categories, with a traveling trophy awarded to the winning business to keep until next year’s event. There are still spots available to participate in the chili cook-off.
There is plenty of entertainment lined up for the weekend. Friday night will see a free concert featuring Utah’s Charley Jenkins. Matthews said that although Jenkins is not really well known, he is a fantastic performer.
“If people come to the concert, I promise they will enjoy it,” Matthews said.
Saturday’s rodeo will be followed by a dance on the blacktop in front of the exhibit hall at the fairgrounds, with music provided by Evanston’s own Dancin’ DJ Dale Pinter. A Power Wheels Demolition Derby will warm the crowd up prior to Monday’s afternoon rodeo.
“The crowd just loves it,” Matthews said. “It doesn’t matter if we have a lot of entries because people have so much fun watching it.”
Matthews said the ever-popular kids’ mutton bustin’ spots are rapidly filling up. He said it is probably the most popular Cowboy Days event.
Monday’s rodeo will feature another new element. Weather permitting, the rodeo will be opened by skydivers jumping into the arena carrying the American flag. Matthews said the skydiving group is out of Provo, Utah, and he hopes the weather will cooperate to allow for this exciting start to the afternoon.
Evanston’s Abby Hayduk, the reigning Miss Rodeo Wyoming, will be on hand for the entire weekend. Saturday will see Hayduk and other royalty — both local and from neighboring states — hosting a kids’ pizza party. The pizza party is free, with no pre-registration required, but the pizza is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Also new this year, discounted advance purchase tickets to the rodeos are available at local merchants, including Boot Barn, Murdoch’s, and Kallas NAPA in Evanston, as well as at Covolo NAPA in the Bridger Valley.
Matthews said he is really excited about the rodeos and wants people to know about the high-caliber of rodeo participants.
“People don’t realize it, but last year we had 15 cowboys and cowgirls who went to nationals,” he said. “This year’s entrants look great, the best we’ve had in a long time.”
He said that the ladies’ barrel racing, in particular, is shaping up to be quite the competition, with several entrants ranked in the top 15 in the world, including a former world champion.
Entry information and a detailed schedule for the weekend can be found on the Evanston Cowboy Days website at evanstoncowboydays.com.