May 24, 2016 By: Sandi Argo
In just a few short days, the Jack County Sheriff Posse will hold their 61st annual rodeo. What started as horse shows in an arena located out on Highway 59 (where the lakes are now) has grown into an event that is deep in tradition. The JCSP was formed in 1955, with a number of members participating in polo matches in Texas and other states, such as New Mexico and Colorado. The JCSP has held regular meetings since the start, with minutes dating back to 1956. In 1955 the first JCSP rodeo was held, and the rest is history.
In the 60’s, the arena was re-located to the 13 acres where it is found today. Long time member (and JCSP secretary for 25 years) CW Mower (“Jr” to us) recalled, in a recent visit, “The city told us that they were going to take over that land for the city dump if we didn’t buy it. We all collected the money and made sure that the city dump wasn’t going to move onto our place”. Years later, those that make the trek to the arena each year are certainly glad they did. Driving through the entrance takes you to a simpler time and brings back memories of people who made a lasting imprint on our county, and our hearts. According to Mower, “Back in the 50’s and 60’s just about everyone was a member of the Sheriff’s Posse”. Looking at old records, the names of members bring a smile to my face, and a few lumps to my throat as many have made the journey to “pastures beyond”. Names like Jack Barry, Deward Potts, Luther Prunty and “Hoot” Tillery, to name a few. I also saw names and photos of men that have left their wonderful marks among us, and still are. Don McAnear, Ray Monroe, “Jr” Mower and Clyde Watson are on that list, and I’m betting that they would humbly deny that they were part of history, but they are.
In 1988 the JCSP brought to the event perhaps one of the hottest competitions to be held each year. That was the first year of the Sheriff Posse Rodeo Queen competition. With the county’s finest young women vying for the title, and the brand spanking new 2 horse trailer that comes along with the title each year. The first Rodeo Queen was Melissa Rhodes, last year’s winner was Ragen Overton.
The JCSP “joined up with” the Jack County Sheriff Office in more serious and sometimes dire circumstances later on as they have assisted the JCSO in search and rescue operations. Mower recalls one tragic search that resulted in the body of a woman that had been murdered in Ft Worth being found in a stock tank. The JCSP had been a part of the search, using horses to cover a large amount of acreage. Thankfully, there haven’t been a lot of those type of searches.
The annual event will kick off with the Mutton Bustin’ qualifying on Tuesday, May 31st (at 6 p.m.) then the annual Rodeo Parade on Thursday, June 2 at 5pm. The Jacksboro Lions Club will hold their annual Fish Fry on Thursday, on the east side of the courthouse. Friday night will be a “Pink Night”, where half of the money taken in at the gate will go to local Cancer charity.
Grab your boots and hats and get ready to head to the arena June 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Rodeo starts at 8pm, and gate admission is $6 for kiddos and $10 of the best spent money you’ll have all summer!