The Rodeo Finds Its Home
A year later, Bob Sharp was President of the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber wanted to see a permanent rodeo organization. Bob contacted Shorty who said that he would sell the grounds and the arena to the city if they came up with a plan. This group selected a four-man committee of Bob Sharp, Chairman, Luther Johnson, Howard Ewalt, and Fay Stafford. The result — the Springdale Benevolent Amusement Association organized in February 1947. To get it going they sold “stock” to companies and individuals for $25 per share. The charter members elected Harvey Jones as President the first year. The 1947 show was again a huge success. In 1948, Ed Maestri was manager of the Chamber of Commerce. He recruited new people and interests. John Tyson was elected President. Again the Rodeo of the Ozarks was tops. It looked like a permanent affair. In 1950, they came back to the father of the show, who had been working on it every year, and asked him to be President. Shorty agreed. He served as President of the Rodeo of the Ozarks until his death in 1988. The Association borrowed $32,000 to complete seats around the arena. The prize money was increased and the show continued to grow.
This year at the same location, the Rodeo of the Ozarks will be presented again. There are differences, though. From small wooden bleachers and hand-rigged bucking chutes made out of oak timber cut just days before to steel holding pens and specially designed chutes, steel under-framed bleachers seating more than 10,000 each night and parking for hundreds of cars. But despite its growth and changes to accommodate the times, one thing that you will find unwavering is the patriotism, passion, and pride for the country and people.