It may have been raining during the first day of events, but the 81st Pioneer Reunion and Rodeo in Henrietta has felt the effects of the drought this year.
In past years, Arena Director Zach Parker went to local ranchers for the livestock needed for the event's shows. "And this year, you know, obviously cattle prices are higher so people aren't willing to sacrifice that livestock for the rodeo," said Parker.
He had to get cattle from a ranch in Waurika, Oklahoma, and hauled in hay from Tyler, Texas. "It's the closest place that we could find hay that someone was willing to us that wasn't already spoke for," said Parker.
With the price of corn skyrocketing, Parker said the cost of feed for livestock has nearly doubled. "So it's costing these contractors twice as much to keep these cattle and horses in shape to go to these rodeos and perform like they should," said Parker.
However, this hasn't stopped Texomans from participating in and enjoying the Pioneer Reunion. Parker said the number of contestants enrolled went up this year by 15-20 percent.
"We've also seen a lot of the fan base grow because people are making rodeo a 'staycation'. Where they might not be able to afford to go to Disney World this year or go to Six Flags, they can spend a little extra money and go to the rodeo and have just as much fun," said Rodeo Announcer T.C. Long.