What is the cavalcade?
Dedicated to perpetuation of the spirit of the old West and preservation of American ideals, the International Roundup Clubs Cavalcade was incorporated to bring together amateur roping and riding clubs from all over the country to compete for trophies and prize money.
The birth and success of the Cavalcade is the culmination of a lot of thought, months of careful planning, hard work and considerable expense. Dedicated men and women brought a dream to reality — a dream that roping and riding clubs across the country could have a Western Sports show they could call their own.
Inaugurated in 1947, the Cavalcade was the brainchild of Alice Adams, a well-known lady bronc rider and arena secretary and was co-sponsored by the Pawhuska Roundup Club and a fledgling new magazine, The Roundup. Two years later in February of 1949, the Pawhuska Roundup Club bought the sole rights to the Cavalcade and formed the Cavalcade Committee.
In March of each year, roundup clubs in Oklahoma and Kansas meet with the Cavalcade Committee to review rules and openly discuss ideas and suggestions for that year’s show. This four-day western sports jamboree is held on the Osage County fairgrounds, three miles south of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. A large pasture is marked off into streets and camp sites as a vast city of RV’s, campers and pickups unfurls to house incoming roundup and riding club members — some who begin arriving as early as the Sunday preceding the big event. An occasional striped tent hints of earlier times when drab army green tents dominated the campsite. Makeshift pens are created for the hundreds of horses so vital to this event. Water lines, bath houses, toilets and watering tanks for horses are provided and electric lights strung to illuminate the grounds. All of these amenities were free to the participants until the emergence of RV’s some ten years ago. Since its inception, the Cavalcade Committee has worked tirelessly towards annual improvements of the campgrounds, continually adding new electric hookups, water lines, repairing fences, and making other necessary improvements.
In earlier days, visitors to the newly erected Cavalcade city dined in a canvas topped restaurant. A well-stocked makeshift grocery store was even available for those wishing to cook over camp fires.
Contestants for the nine rodeo performances hail from participating riding and roundup clubs. Shows are held twice daily Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, climaxing with the Sunday afternoon performance. Events include something for everyone; bareback bronc riding, bull riding, wild horse races, team roping, wild cow milking, calf roping, pony express races, barrel races, pole bending, flag races, chuck wagon races and the queen contest. A dance is held each night after the performance where guests are apt to be entertained by several different local and national performers.
The roundup clubs who have been responsible for the enormous growth of the Cavalcade, together with those new ones who attend each year, should be proud for giving the public this grand spectacle, proud to keep alive the love of animals and the freedom of the great outdoors–the heritage of the American people!