Cowboy Days named 2023 most improved rodeo

EVANSTON — Competing with 50 rodeos, Evanston’s Cowboy Days Rodeo won the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) 2023 award for the most improved rodeo. Accepting the award on Oct. 20, in Rosalind, Colorado, was 2024 Miss Rodeo Wyoming Bailee Mackey and Evanston Cowboy Days committee member Marlene Mackey — both of Evanston.

The PRCA places rodeos into different circuits, similar to regions, and Evanston’s Cowboy Days rodeo is in the Mountain States Circuit with other rodeos from Wyoming and Colorado.

“We are so excited to have won this award,” Evanston Cowboy Days Committee President Dustin Matthews said. “The new bleachers and lights provided by a joint effort from the city and county were a real plus this year. An exciting addition to the bleachers, and personally gratifying to me, are the 32 spaces on the bleachers for wheelchair accessibility.”

In the last seven or eight years, Matthews said, the committee has added a hospitality tent where they provide a meal for contestants every night during the event; added a big screen that shows instant replays; increased the prize money for each event; broadcast the rodeo on the Cowboy television channel; added a women’s break away roping event; recruited big names for the concerts; and switched to a new stock contractor — Summit Pro Rodeo.

One of the rodeo’s sponsors, Ideal Transport, helped to finance a lot of the new additions, Matthews said.

“The committee is already busy planning for next year’s event and discussing what we can do to make it even better in 2024,” Matthews said.