Cherokees turn out for Will Rogers rodeo, Vinita events
Saddle bronc riding was just one of the many competitive events in the Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo, which ran Aug. 23-26 in Vinita, Oklahoma. COURTESY
VINITA, Okla. – The 81st annual Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo and related events, including a parade and old settlers reunion, were held Aug. 23-26 and Cherokees turned out for the fun.
The Cherokee Nation was well represented in all facets of the town’s tribute to one of their own.
“As everyone knows, Will Rogers was Cherokee,” Chief of Staff Chuck Hoskin said. “He attended school here in Vinita at Willie Halsell College, and he challenged the people here that if they would have a rodeo here next year, that he’d not only be back but would participate.”
Hoskin said Rogers perished in an airplane crash in Alaska in 1935 and never got to attend the rodeo in Vinita.
“But the people of Vinita felt so strongly that they wanted to keep the memory of Will Rogers alive, that they’ve continued to host a memorial rodeo to this day,” he said.
The Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo parade was held on Aug. 23. Both the CN and its Health Services entered floats in the event while many CN staff members walked the route, passing out candy to children.
“We came out here to bring our granddaughter to the parade,” said CN citizen Jon Page. “She loves horses, and my wife is originally from this area. She grew up coming to this parade as a child. It’s become sort of a family tradition.”
As for CN being heavily involved in the event, Page said, “it’s great to see Cherokee Nation so well represented here.”
On Aug. 24, the Will Rogers Memorial Rodeo hosted “Cherokee Night.”
“Well Cherokee Nation has a sponsorship with the rodeo,” Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “This is an important event for the community, and Vinita is an important Cherokee community, so it makes sense that we be heavily involved as supporters and as participants. There’s Cherokees entered in almost every event tonight.”