Gladewater Round-Up kicks off 86th year of rodeo fun Wednesday

Gladewater Round-Up kicks off 86th year of rodeo fun Wednesday
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 4:43 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 7:52 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Polish your boots and put on your best Stetson; it’s time for an annual rodeo that brings thousands of visitors to East Texas .

The Gladewater Round-up Rodeo gets underway Wednesday night in it’s 86th edition.

Final preparations were being made in what has become a family tradition for many, who came with their parents when they were kids.

“My dad put me on his shoulder and we’d go to the rodeo. This is Gladewater, East Texas, and everybody down here is cowboys and cowgirls,” says rodeo fan Ernestine Hawkins.

Eight-time world champion bull rider and commentator Don Gay says the contestants personify many of the attributes of the Old West, like athleticism and toughness.

“At the end of the day at the Gladewater Roundup rodeo, the mud and the blood and the tears, the rodeo is still the same; man against beast, and the best guy wins,” Don says.

And for the city, an important economic impact.

“You got people coming from all over the country and all over the world. Brazil, Australia. All of our money goes into scholarship funds to help send local school kids going to college around this area, and with our sponsors, it’s been that way since 1938,” says rodeo director Kyle Moore.

Rodeo fans can see bull riding, calf-roping, bronc-riding along with specialty acts like trick rider Madison Schalla.

“I saw it when I was three at one of my dad’s rodeos, and ever since then I wanted to do it, and I learned from some of the best in the business,” the 20-year-old Oklahoma native says.

More than a show, it’s part of who we are.

“Families get together, and still to this day get together, and go to the rodeo,” Moore says.

The Gladewater Roundup Rodeo runs through Saturday. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the rodeo starts every night at 8:15. Tickets are $16 for adults and $8 for kids 12 and under. Kids two and under get in free.