Las Vegas Sun

April 14, 2024

Rodeo returns to annual Helldorado Days

Helldorado Days events

Wednesday, May 13

  • Helldorado Roundup Party, 6-11 p.m.
  • Randy Anderson, 8-11 p.m.
  • Third Town, 8-10 p.m.

Thursday, May 14

  • Carnival, 5-11 p.m.
  • Kids & Kowboys Local Rodeo, 7-9 p.m.
  • Scotty Alexander Band, 8 to 11 p.m.
  • Third Town, 8 to 11 p.m.

Friday, May 15

  • Whiskerino Contest Finale, 4:45 p.m.
  • Carnival, 5 p.m.-midnight
  • PRCA Rodeo, 7-9 p.m.
  • John Encino Band, 8 to 11 p.m.
  • T.J. Weaver Band, 8 to 11 p.m.

Saturday, May 16

  • Helldorado Texas Hold 'em Poker Tournament, 9 a.m.
  • Dunkin' Donuts Donut-Eating Contest Finale, 5 p.m.
  • Parade, 7 to 9 p.m.
  • Fireworks Show, 9 p.m.
  • Carnival, noon-midnight
  • PRCA Rodeo, 9-11 p.m.
  • John Encino Band, 8 to 11 p.m.
  • T.J. Weaver Band, 8 to 11 p.m.

Sunday, May 17

  • Carnival, noon-11 p.m.
  • PRCA Rodeo, 7-9 p.m.
  • Hazard County Rebels, 8 to 11 p.m.

Beyond the Sun

For the first time since 1997, the 75th Annual Helldorado Days Celebration will feature a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association-sanctioned rodeo in downtown Las Vegas.

The festival gets underway with a concert Wednesday night and runs through Sunday.

The celebration was founded in 1934 by the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks as a way to keep tourists visiting the downtown area when the construction of the Hoover Dam was entering its final phases. In 1944, Helldorado Days added a rodeo to the festivities -- a trend that continued more than 50 years until the entire celebration was put on hold for financial reasons in 1997.

Although Helldorado Days returned in 2005, the rodeo has been missing -- until this year.

"We're all real excited about getting the rodeo back," said Elks Lodge member Duane LaDuke. "We're building a 5,300-seat arena for a full-blown rodeo just one block away from where this entire celebration first started."

Like all PRCA-sanctioned events, this weekend is expected to bring out some of the biggest stars in the professional rodeo circuit, as all prizes will count toward the professionals' 2009 winnings totals.

Two-time world champion steer-wrestler Luke Branquinho is expected to compete as well as 2008 world champion team-roper Randon Adams, a Las Vegas native.

"We've gotten all our paperwork in to get the legalities taken care of to make this a professional rodeo," LaDuke said. "I've been told it's one of the largest entry lists of the year with a lot of big names."

As always, the Elks Lodge will donate the proceeds of these events to a variety of charities and academic scholarships. The organization is hoping to raise as much as $100,000 from the event, LaDuke said.

The rodeo kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday and finishes up Sunday night. Tickets are $12.50 for adults $6.50 for children.

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