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85th XIT Rodeo & Reunion coming up

Posted by: tdt -

85th XIT Rodeo & Reunion coming up

By Bill Kelly


Many events had to be cancelled during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the biggest event that was cancelled in Dalhart was the 2020 XIT Rodeo & Reunion. XIT is coming back in 2021 however, and even though the 84th rodeo and reunion never really happened, the 85th is now one month away and will bring back the tradition after a one-year hiatus.

A few changes are in store for the rodeo, so that will be noticed by the public and some that won’t really affect the public much at all. Tickets can be bought online in advance, and in fact are already for sale, and will be scanned this year instead of being torn. Tickets will be available at the gate as well, unless they sell out in advance. The tickets are available at

This includes tickets for the concerts as well.

The Thursday night concert will feature Seth Ward, and instead of being held in the Rita Blanca Coliseum, that concert will be held outdoors in the park area by the Bean Barn. A large tent will be set up for the band to play under. Admission to that concert will come with a rodeo ticket for $10, although those who just want to attend the concert can also buy a ticket for $10.

Kids 12-and-under will be able to get into Thursday night’s rodeo for free. On Friday and Saturday, tickets are again $10 for adults, and those 12-and-under will be able to get in for $5 each. Children under the age of three will get in free each night.

The concert on Friday will feature Chancey Williams and the concert on Saturday will feature The Great Divide. Tickets for those concerts are $20 each, and those concerts will be held in the Rita Blanca Coliseum and will double as dances.

Jessica Blair Fowlkes will be another new feature at each night’s rodeo. Fowlkes puts on incredible performances of horsemanship with her two grey horses, and started out in the famous Dixie Stampede. Returning to the rodeo will be announcer Kelly Kenney and rodeo clown Hippie Engelkes.

Another change is that entries for some of the other events surrounding the rodeo are available online this year. The entries for the Little Mr. and Little Miss XIT pageant are available at forms/little-mr-miss-xitpageant-registration-form/ and are due by July 12. The pageant will be held at the La Rita Theatre on Saturday July 24. It is open to children ages 3-5 who live within 50 miles of Dalhart, and is only open to a maximum of 15 boys and 15 girls.

Entries for the Junior Rodeo are available for download at https:// The entries will close on July 23, although contestants can register the day of the rodeo if they pay a $25 late fee. The Junior Rodeo will be held on July 31.

The theme for the parade this year is “Rich in Tradition.” Entry forms are available at https:// parade-entry-applicationform/. Those wishing to be judged should mark the “Yes” box and include the $20 entry fee. The parade is on Saturday August 7 and will begin at 10 a.m. Entry forms must be turned in by July 30 at 5 p.m.

Entries for the Ranch Bronc riding are also available online this year at forms/ranch-bronc-ridingentry-form/. A maximum of six riders will compete each night, and the entry fee is $50 per rider. The deadline to enter is July 31 or until filled.

The rodeo and reunion will of course feature free feeds each afternoon. The watermelon feed will be on Thursday, the pork chop feed will be held Friday, and the world’s largest free barbecue will be held Saturday.

A number of other events take place around Dalhart the same weekend as the rodeo and reunion. The La Rita Theatre’s annual melodrama returns this year with “Male Order Brides.” There will be an antique tractor show and pull behind the rodeo arena on Friday and Saturday, and a fiddling contest on Saturday as well at the Rita Blanca Lake Picnic Pavilion.

The XIT Museum will have an open house each day from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., which this year will feature artist Pamela Steege. The Joe Nisbett XIT Empty Saddle 1 Mile and 5K Fun Run will be held on Saturday morning, with the 1-mile run at 7:30 a.m. and the 5K starting at 8 a.m.

The 85th XIT Rodeo & Reunion will be held on Thursday August 5 through Saturday August 7.


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