Boley Rodeo & BBQ Festival falls prey to coronavirus
By Ken Childers
The list of large-scale events in Okfuskee County cancelled because of the COVID-19 crisis continues to grow.
Okemah’s Pioneer Days Celebration, held annually in April, was called off this year, and the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, a mid-July tradition since 1998, will be a virtual event this time around. Now an event that draws some 30,000 people to the small town of Boley each May will not happen this year.
The Boley Rodeo and Barbeque Festival slated for Memorial Day Weekend (May 23 – 24) has been cancelled. The two-day event, which includes one of the largest African American rodeos in the nation, dates to 1903. The rodeo typically features bareback riding, bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, a pony express, barrel racing, calf roping, bull riding, junior bull riding and mutton bustin’.
The cancellation announcement was made last week by Henrietta Hicks on behalf of the Boley Chamber of Commerce.
“It is with deep regret we announce the cancellation of Boley Rodeo 2020. This decision was carefully considered,” Hicks said. “The current health crisis of the coronavirus mandates this decision because we are concerned for the welfare and health of our friends and visitors. The chamber sincerely appreciates the support and cooperation it receives from all the companies, organizations and families that advertise in our rodeo brochure.”
Hicks added that if your business or organization has already paid to advertise in this year’s brochure, you should contact M.J. Matthews at 918-667-2916.