35th Western Heritage Classic in Abilene Celebrates Life of the Cowboy

 

ABILENE, TX – More than 3,000 out-of-town guests and their animals will arrive this week as the Western Heritage Classic marks its 35th year May 9-12 on the grounds of the Taylor County Expo Center. The four-day festivities showcase the daily lives of working cowboys and celebrates classic Western traditions. The public is invited to attend, and tickets can be purchased on the Western Heritage Classic website or at the Taylor County Expo Center.

WHC is internationally known for its expansive exhibit halls, food booths and one-of-a-kind ranch rodeo, and 30,000 people will attend events this week, not counting downtown parade watchers. Hotels will be full or near capacity as guests bring more than $816,000 direct spending into the city.

The fun will kick off Thursday with Ranch Horse Competitions and trade shows, a parade downtown at 6 pm, street dance to the tunes of Swing Machine, and Cowboy Poetry Under the Stars. See a full schedule of events at www.westernheritageclassic.com. This year the WHC will honor a parade grand marshal posthumously. Mike Alexander, who passed away prematurely in March 2018, was one of the first participants and supporters of the event in 1985.

Ten teams will compete at this year's Ranch Rodeo: Green Land & Cattle Co., Guitar Ranches, Haythorn Land & Cattle Co. Matthews/Nail Ranches, Muleshoe Ranch, Pitchfork Land & Cattle Co., Spade Ranches, Stuart Ranch, Swenson Land & Cattle Co. and Tongue River Ranch.

New this year is the Craig Cameron Horse Clinic, Roy Cox Cow-dog Demonstration and Cowboy Poetry Under the Stars. Children's events and the horse sale will take place in the new livestock barn, a first for those well-established activities.

Western Heritage Classic supporters have contributed almost $250,000 in sponsorships this year, proceeds that will benefit the programs of the Expo Center. The WHC has contributed $2.9 million to the Expo Center during the event's 35-year history.

The Taylor County Expo Center is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit that hosts more than 231 annual events on its 127-acre, multi­facility grounds, including the West Texas Fair & Rodeo, Western Heritage Classic, and Evening for the Expo. The Expo Center brings in an estimated $20 million dollars to the area by attracting visitors from throughout the state and nation. To maintain that mission, voters passed a $55 million bond in 2016 to fund renovations and expansions to the facilities. A new Livestock Barn, Covered Outdoor Arena, and Multipurpose Arena are complete, while the Coliseum, Midway should be completed by fall 2020. For events and more information, see taylorcountyexpocenter.com

Schedule of Events

THURSDAY, MAY 9, 2019
7 30 amRHAA Ranch Horse Competition - Coliseum
8 am-5 pmTrade Show - Coliseum
12 pm-5 pmTrade Show - Big Country Hall, Display Building, and East Ground Outside Vendors
8 am-7 pmBit & Spur Show - Round Building & Modern Living Mall
8 am – 5 pmYouth RHAA Ranch Horse Competition - Covered Outdoor Arena
6 30 pmParade - Downtown Abilene. Swing Machine Street Dance immediately following
8 pmCowboy Poetry Under the Stars (Sponsored by Frontier Texas)- Chuckwagon Area
FRIDAY, MAY 10, 2019
7 30 amRHAA Ranch Horse Competition (Semi Finals) - Coliseum
8 am-10 30 pmTrade Show - Coliseum
8 am- 7 pmBit & Spur Show - Round Building & Modern Living Mall
10 am-8 pmTrade Show - Big Country Hall, Display Building, East Grounds Outside Vendors
10 30 am – 12 pmRoy Cox – Cowdog Demonstration – Covered Outdoor Arena
11 am-5 pmCowboy Music - Outdoor Entertainment Pavilion
1 pmChuckwagon Cookoff - Wagon Authenticity Judging - Cookoff Area
1 pm – 2 30 pmCraig Cameron Horse Clinic – (Sponsored by Total Feeds) - Covered Outdoor Arena
4 pm-7 pmColt Starting Challenge USA - Covered Outdoor Arena
7 pmRhinestone Round Up Derby - Tent by Coliseum
8 pmRanch Rodeo - Coliseum
9 pm-12 amKelby Hodges and the Moonlight Bandits – Outdoor Entertainment Pavilion. 
SATURDAY, MAY 11, 2019
8 amChuckwagon Cookoff - Cookoff Area
8 am-10 30 pmTrade Show - Coliseum
8 am-8 pmTrade Show - Big Country Hall, Display Building, and Outside Vendors
8 am - 7 pmBit & Spur Show - Round Building & Modern Living Mall
8 amAll Age Groups Packet Pick-Up
9 am – 10 30 amChildren's Activities New Livestock Barn
9 amGrand Entry & Haney Cannon Stickhorse Rodeo
9- 10 amBest Dressed Cowgirl & Cowboy
All other events immediately following
  • Rodeo Starts ages 3-4
  • Rodeo Starts ages 5-6
  • Rodeo Starts ages 7-9
10 amWHC Invitational Ranch Horse Sale – New Livestock Barn
11 am-3 pmCowboy Music - Outdoor Entertainment Pavilion
12 pm-1 15 pmChuckwagon Cookoff (Lunch Served) - Cookoff Area
12 30 pm -3 pmColt Starting Challenge USA - Covered Outdoor Arena
1 pmOld Time Fiddlers Contest- Display Building
1 pmCraig Cameron Horse Clinic – (Sponsored by Total Feeds) – New Livestock Barn
1 pmRHAA Ranch Horse Competition “Top 20” Finals - Coliseum
2 pmRegistration for Matched Horse Races - Southeast Grounds
3 pmChuckwagon Cookoff Results & Awards - Cookoff Area
4 pmMatched Horse Races - Southeast Grounds
Blan Scott Band immediately following the races
 
4 pm – 5 30 pmRoy Cox Cowdog Demonstration – Covered Outdoor Arena
8 pmRanch Rodeo - Coliseum
10 pm-1 amJake Hooker and the Outsiders – Outdoor Entertainment Pavilion
10 pmRodeo Champion Awards - Coliseum
SUNDAY, MAY 12, 2019
9 amCowboy Church Service - Outdoor Entertainment Pavilion

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