79th Big Spring Rodeo opens Thursday

Dust off your hat and pull up your boots, it's rodeo time in Big Spring.The Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo makes its 79th run beginning Thursday in the historic Big Spring Rodeo Bowl.Featuring the nation's top professional cowboy and cowgirl performers in the arena and country star Aaron Watson on stage, the annual event will continue through Saturday night. Gates open at 7 each evening with the grand entry to get under way at 8. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for children in advance and $12 and $8 at the gate. Box seats are available for $250.Specialty acts will include Keith Isley — perennial winner of the Coors Man in the Can competition, Comedy Act of the Year and Clown of the Year. He has taken home those awards for the past three years. Also performing will be the highly acclaimed 24-member Santa Rosa Palomino Club.Carr Pro Rodeo will be providing livestock once again and Mike Mathis will return as announcer.What's new?Well, with a twist the rodeo parade will return after a year's absence. Previously held on the rodeo's first day, the parade this year will be at 10 a.m. Saturday. Organizers said the event, which will include the Santa Rosa Palomino Club and Hardin-Simmons Six White Horses, will travel the familiar north-on-Main-Street, south-on-Scurry route. The parade is open to anyone who would like to enter. Organizers said the time was changed to morning because Thursday afternoons were just too hot.There's no charge for the parade, of course, but rodeo tickets are available at the Big Spring Area Chamber of Commerce, Ward's Boot and Saddle, Western Bank, Compass Bank, Wells Fargo, Citizens Federal Credit Union, State National Bank, Lonestar State Bank and H-E-B. Tickets for Watson's Saturday night show, which begins at 9:30 p.m., are $20 per person. The opening band will be the popular Lenorah Band. Neil Olivas will perform Friday evening. Tickets are $5.