BIG SPRING, Texas – Deep down, Dane Driver was heartbroken that the 2020 edition of the
Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo was forced to cancel because of COVID-19.
“That was a hard one, just because we’re so proud of our history and what we’ve been able to
pull off,” said Driver, a longtime member of the volunteer committee that organizes the annual event.
“We’ve been able to make it through war times and bad financial times, and then we had to cancel it last year at the last minute. It was gut-wrenching.
“These were decisions that were made by my dad, my grandad, and my great-grandad, and we were the ones that had to cancel it. We were dealing with what every other rodeo committee was dealing with, and most of that was not knowing. We were worrying about everyone’s well-being. Ultimately with those concerns, we were left with no choice.”
It’s a much different situation for this year’s event, set for 8 p.m. Thursday, June 17-Saturday, June 19, at the Rodeo Bowl.
“The decision to go forward was a unanimous one by our committee, and we made it very early on,” he said. “We had no indecisions. Because of everything we dealt with last year that caused the cancelation, we were very comfortable with how local officials and state officials have dealt with it this year.
“Besides, this community is ready to have an event and ready to enjoy something.”
The pandemic forced isolation and social distancing. People were asked to avoid crowds and stay at home. Many children were taught at kitchen tables instead of classrooms.
But normalcy is returning. It may be a relatively slow process, but having a taste of what life was like before the pandemic is actually helping a lot of souls.
“We don’t want to sound irresponsible, but we’re just as concerned about our local businesses
and their well-being and everybody that’s struggled with the effects of the coronavirus,” Driver said.
“We’re looking for everybody to come out and have a great time, and we have the facility to allow for that.”
Adding to the fun is clown/entertainer Keith Isley, who has been to Big Spring many times
before. He brings not only outstanding comedy but also an incredible pedigree: he has been named Specialty Act of the Year five times, Comedy Act of the Year six times, Clown of the Year six times and Coors Man in the Can five times, including 2020.
He will be working with Mike Mathis, who has announced the Big Spring rodeo for many years.
“We love having Keith here,” Driver said. “He’s just one of those guys. He doesn’t need an act; he’s an act all by himself.
“Mike’s been here so long, and he’s so prepared. When he’s talking about sponsors and the
people that are so integral for our rodeo, he knows them. He’s spent the week with them. He just makes a good fit for us. He does a good job of making everyone feel like they are part of our rodeo.”
No wonder everyone in Big Spring is ready for rodeo week.