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Changes in tradition

Posted by: tdt -

    Tradition dictates that change comes slow for the XIT Rodeo and Reunion in Dalhart.  They have been serving up the street parade, rodeo, dances, and free feeds for years.  But, the XIT Directors who put on the event are always trying to make the experience the best it can be.  Under the leadership of President John Foley, there are several big and very positive changes for attendees during the 73rd Annual XIT Rodeo and Reunion on August 6, 7, 8.

The XIT Rodeo began incorporating amateur events back into the rodeo in 2007 with barrel racing.  In 2008, wild cow milking was added, and this year amateur goes to a whole new level with ranch bronc riding.  Amateur entry forms are available online at or through the Dalhart Chamber of Commerce office.  For the PRCA rodeo fans, there is still a full compliment of professional events that includes over 40 professional bull riders and some of the biggest names in rodeo.

The Directors are making two big changes to address the most frequently heard complaints from rodeo fans.  This year, they are adding a scoreboard to track contestant times and results.  Also, they are moving advertising banners from the fence to a location where no banner obstructs the view of the arena.  Fans of the grass can now bring their chairs and will have a clear, front row view of the action!  These are two improvements aimed directly at improving the rodeo fan experience.  

Gates to the rodeo arena will open each night at 6:00 p.m. with separate gates for advance tickets and purchase tickets.  Free rodeo programs will be given to the first 200 fans nightly with additional programs available for a charge.  Concessions tickets will be sold at booths located at each open concession stand.  No coolers, glass containers, or dogs are allowed inside the rodeo.

Thursday at the XIT Rodeo and Reunion is Family Night.  Of course the watermelon is free, but attendance to the rodeo is also free for children twelve and under when accompanied by an adult.  The Thursday dance immediately after the rodeo is a set price.  Adult rodeo tickets are a set price, children twelve and under are free Thursday and a set fee on Friday and Saturday.  Kids under three are free nightly.        

In addition to the charge for the Thursday dance featuring the Buster Bledsoe Band, the XIT Directors have lowered Friday, Calvin Milburn, and Saturday, Agave Posse, dance prices.   This year for XIT only, dance attendees will be allowed to bring a cooler of their own beer for a set fee.  No beer sales are allowed.  Coolers must be personal in size, carried by one person, and be under approximately 16 quarts in size.  A hint is that most one handled coolers are fine, but no wheeled coolers or coolers carried by two people will be allowed.  Only aluminum cans of beer are allowed; no glass containers of anything, no liquor, no soft drinks and no bottled water will be allowed to be brought into the dance in coolers.  Soft drinks and bottled water will be sold inside the dance.       

Parking is free.  Traffic will be restricted to one way on the main road around the grounds.  There is handicapped parking on the south side of the rodeo arena north of the feeds by permit only.  VIP parking is available for those working the rodeo and the feeds.  Some areas are restricted access to make it safer for pedestrians, especially families with children.

For more information on schedules and events, visit the official XIT Rodeo and Reunion website at  The XIT Directors are always trying to improve the XIT experience, please e-mail them at with questions, comments or suggestions you would like them to consider.

The XIT Rodeo and Reunion, Inc. is a non-profit organization consisting of current and past directors whose purpose is to preserve the legacy of the XIT ranch and the heritage of the area through this annual event.  The XIT Rodeo and Reunion is a three-day annual celebration beginning on the first Thursday in August and consisting of three days of amateur and professional rodeo events, dances, and free feeds including the World’s Largest Free Bar-B-Que held on Saturday from 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., as well as many other coinciding community events.

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