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Home News-Telegram News UPRA Spring Rodeo returns for 30th year

UPRA Spring Rodeo returns for 30th year

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The longest-running annual event in the history of the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center returns Thursday when the 30th edition of the UPRA Spring Membership Rodeo brings more than 500 cowboys and cowgirls to Sulphur Springs.

“We will have about 510 contestants entered to compete this weekend,” said Oscar Aguilar, president of the Hopkins County Rodeo Committee, which hosts the rodeo each year. “We have contestants from a five-state area competing for over $18,500 in added money.”

The action starts at 7:30 p.m. nightly, Thursday through Saturday. Adult tickets are $8 each, and children’s tickets are $7.

UPRA President Jerry Hill had praise for the Civic Center staff and the rodeo committe for improvements made to the arena in advance of this week’s rodeo.

“In December, 18 to 22 inches of dirt was removed from front to back. I was shocked at the difference when I was there last month,” Hill wrote in a message on the UPRA website. “I expect it to be the best it has ever been at the UPRA Membership Rodeo.”

Aguilar said the arena is in the best shape ever, and will continue to be so.

“The staff and commissioners at the Civic Center are on top of keeping all excess dirt out prior to the membership rodeo,” he said. “Our rodeo committee is working very hard to make 2009 a great success.”

The 500-plus ompetitors will go head-to-head in bareback riding, tie-down roping, breakaway roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc, barrel racing, bull riding, ranch bronc and team roping, but the action on the arena floor is not limited to professionals.

“We have several events for all age groups of children,” said Aguilar. “The Calf Scramble, Mutton Bustin, Chuck Wagon races, Steer Scramble and Kids Boot Scramble will be held on Friday night only.”

Friday night will also be Breast Cancer Awareness night.

UPRA evolved from the merger of the Central Rodeo Association and the Texas Professional Rodeo Association. Sulphur Springs has been the headquarters for both the Membership and UPRA Finals Rodeo, held each November, since 1979. The rodeos were one of the first events booked at the Civic Center when the venue opened that year. A new agreement signed in 2007 guarantees the rodeos will be held here through at least 2012.

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