UPRA spring rodeo returns to Civic Center Thursday-Saturday

About 700 signed up to compete

From Staff Reports

Hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls are headed for the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center arena and the opening of the United Professional Rodeo Association's spring membership rodeo Thursday night, which runs through Saturday. The action begins at 7:30 each night.

Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

Steer wrestling, always an exciting event, returns to the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center Arena Thursday night as the annual UPRA Spring Membership Rodeo opens a three-day run.

An estimated 700 entries have been recorded for the three-night rodeo, with contestants vying for prize money in eight championship events, including bull riding, breakaway roping, team roping, bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing and steer wrestling.

Fans of bull riding might want to take special note: There will be two sections of bull riders on Thursday night only.

There are events for amateurs, too. The ever-popular "mutton bustin'" will be held each night, as will the calf scramble and steer saddling contest. A "Kids Boot Scramble" will be held Friday only.

This is the 28th consecutive year Sulphur Springs has been the site of the rodeo association's season-opening rodeo. The Civic Center and Hopkins County Rodeo Committee have hosted UPRA's first rodeo in March and championship finals on the third weekend in November ever since.

UPRA formed in 1979 with 200 members. Today UPRA's membership totals more than 1,200.

UPRA sanctions more than 130 rodeos in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana and Arkansas. UPRA paid out more than $1.85 million at rodeo events in 2006.

The Hopkins County Rodeo Committee is hosting the rodeo.

Advance tickets are on sale at the Civic Center Box office and Circle E Western Store for $7 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. Tickets at the door are $1 higher.

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