By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – With the Festival of the Arts in the books to kick off the Dogwood Festival’s three weekends of celebrations, Western Weekend is now upon Tyler Countians.
The return of the Dogwood Festival to its traditional schedule, following a retooled 2020 festival due to the pandemic, will find Tyler County residents enjoying two evenings of rodeo, sponsored by the Woodville Lions Club, and plenty of other events.
The rodeo will take place at the county fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday, beginning at 7 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., respectively. This year’s rodeo will be a Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) sanctioned event, produced by Branded for Christ Rodeo Productions.
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. More than 2,000 trailriders, on average, travel by horseback and wagon to Woodville during the final weekend in March. One locally organized trailride is looking to pay tribute to the past, while embracing the present.
Kendall Coleman has organized a trailride called “Cowboys United: Calling all Trailriders,” which is calling for all trailriders from around the region and begins with the gates opening at 3 p.m. on Friday, at the location of Highway 190 and county road 3510 in Woodville. The warm-up ride will depart on Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m., with the lineup for the parade at 1 p.m.
Another tradition for Western Weekend is the Western Weekend Sweetheart and Junior Sweetheart contests, in which girls aged 10-13 years are eligible for Junior Sweetheart and those who are 14-23 years of age are eligible for the Senior Sweetheart. The contestants are all judged on their horsemanship, appearance and interviews. The sweetheart horsemanship competition takes place on Saturday morning at 8 a.m.
In other Dogwood Festival news, the Queen’s Weekend parade entries have been extended to this Friday. The entry form can be found at https://www.tylercountydogwoodfestival.org.