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Western Weekend continues festival

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Mutton Bustin’ is always a popular and fun event at the annual Western Weekend Lions Club Rodeo. Booster file photo by Jim PowersMutton Bustin’ is always a popular and fun event at the annual Western Weekend Lions Club Rodeo. Booster file photo by Jim Powers

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Now that the annual Dogwood Festival is in week two, that can only mean one thing: Western Weekend is among us.

Tyler Countians and visitors, alike, will be able to enjoy two evenings of rodeo, sponsored by the Woodville Lions Club, along with plenty of other events, running Friday, March 24 through Saturday, March 25.

Friday and Saturday will both play host to the rodeo out at the 4-H/FFA arena, located west of Woodville on highway 190.

The rodeo, which is being produced by Branded for Christ Rodeo Productions, is a CPRA-sanctioned event, and will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Events at the rodeo include bull riding, mini bareback riding, calf roping, barrel racing and team roping. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children. The rodeo also includes a favorite event for the little ones: Mutton Bustin’. Kids aged 7 and under (and 60 lbs. and under) can sign up and pay to compete. Each ride is $25 and sign-ups will be held before each rodeo performance.

Sign-ups at the gate are from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturday from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The roots of the Western Weekend date back to 1958, when 75 horseback riders joined the Dogwood Festival parade, starting from the Dickens County Line Store. That tradition continued for 10 years, and due to the increasing numbers of horseback riders, the trail bosses requested a parade of their own.

As a consequence, according to the Dogwood Festival Publicity Committee, the first Tyler County Dogwood Festival Western Weekend was held on March 23, 1968. 

In addition to the Western Day Parade, activities included a special show at the 4-H/FFA arena with performances by riding clubs and drill teams. A Western Teenage Dance and Western Adult Dance were also held that evening. 

A big part of the Western Weekend activities are trailrides, according to the festival’s directors, which are kept up in an effort to preserve the heritage of the East Texas cowboy and to enjoy the natural beauty afforded by the region.

Next week, the Booster is releasing a special, tabloid-sized commemorative section for this year’s Dogwood Festival. It will be inserted in each issue of the newspaper, and also available at the Booster office during the Queen’s Weekend parade for anyone who might want one as a keepsake.


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