NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - One of Americas top rodeos can be found right here in East Texas. That's according to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
"We're the top five in the country, and that's something only four other rodeos can say," said Murphey Gayler, the Jaycees Rodeo chair.
At Tuesday's Nacogdoches County Commissioners meeting, the spotlight was on.
"It is an honor to be nominated," said Wendy Lee, Nacogdoches County Exposition and Civic Center's assistant director. "I screamed when my boss Anita Scott told me, I know this is something she wanted for so long."
Out of nearly 300 rodeos across the United States and Canada, the Nacogdoches Pro Rodeo has made it to the top five. It's something some said couldn't have been done if it wasn't for the civic group Jaycees, that got involved back in 2013.
"Because of our relationships with the businesses, they brought in the Jaycees," Gayler said. "We kind of volunteered ourselves, and then they brought us in."
Before the group got involved, Nacogdoches County Commissioner Jim Elder, said the rodeo was losing thousands of dollars. Three years later, Gayler said, they've turned a negative into a positive.
"We put a lot of hard work into this. We've had meeting after meeting in the months leading into rodeos," Gayler said. "Sometimes, the discussion gets a little heated because it's something we're passionate about."
"To be a part of that team and to help her bring that home, I can't explain it," Lee said. "I can't explain the feelings. I can't explain how that makes me feel, because it's a good thing."
It's a feeling and tradition many hope continues for years to come. PRCA members will receive a ballot in the mall to cast their vote.
If you're a member, you can help Nacogdoches Pro Rodeo win the title of Small Rodeo of the year.