In an effort to honor the rich heritage of rodeo and the western way of life, State Sen. Joe Sweeden and Lt. Governor Jari Askins are working to bring the Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) National Steer Roping Finals back to Oklahoma.
“The fact that steer roping is a very important part of the foundation and origin of rodeo and because so many famous steer ropers began their careers in Oklahoma, such as Pawhuska native Ben Johnson Jr., who was also an Oscar winning movie star, it is only fitting that the Finals return to Oklahoma where the first finals were held” said Sweeden who is also a steer roper.
Sweeden has introduced and passed unanimously Senate Resolution 19, supporting and endorsing the PRCA National Steer Roping Finals be returned to Oklahoma in honor of former State Senate President Pro Tempore Clem McSpadden.
“Clem McSpadden was a central figure in American rodeo culture for more than four decades,” said Askins. The PRCA can honor his legacy while hosting the National Steer Roping Finals in Oklahoma. With premier rodeo facilities and enthusiastic fans, the pairing of Oklahoma and PRCA is a perfect fit.”
McSpadden was a rodeo announcer for ABC’s “Wide World of Sports”, the National Finals Rodeo, the Calgary Stampede and the Canadian Finals Rodeo. He also served as President of the Rodeo Cowboys Association from 1970 to 1971. The Rogers County native continued announcing rodeo events throughout the country until his passing last year.
“Nothing would excite me more than to see the steer roping finals return to Oklahoma,” said Justin McKee, of Lenapah, who has made his name as a Professional Bull Riders (PBR) announcer and championship steer roper. “It would be a wonderful tribute to my mentor, Clem McSpadden.”
According to McKee, the national finals steer roping competition was held at the Lazy E arena in Guthrie for several years before the association decided to relocate the event.
“As a steer roper himself, Ed Gaylord (owner of Lazy E), was extremely interested in the sport,” said McKee.
The national finals competition was held in Amarillo, Texas for a couple years, according to McKee. Since then, Hobbs, N.M. has been the site of the annual finals.
“It’s done exceptionally well in Hobbs,” said McKee. “They really pack in a crowd and the prize money has doubled.”
Regardless, McKee said he certainly supports the idea of returning the national finals competition to Oklahoma.