River City Roundup
Omaha’s River City Roundup is no normal way to spend a weekend. Part rodeo, part livestock show, part exposition, and part fair, the Roundup is billed as a “celebration of the Midwest’s heritage.”
Dreamed up on the back of a napkin during a meeting of Omaha civic group, the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben, the Roundup has been held since 1982, currently at the Qwest Center in Downtown Omaha.
The River City Roundup’s major events include the Ak-Sar-Ben Rodeo, the Douglas County Fair and the Ak-Sar-Ben 4-H Livestock Exposition. It is free to the public, with the exception of the rodeo and the concerts that follow it.
The Ak-Sar-Ben Rodeo
The Ak-Sar-Ben Rodeo is the Omaha stop on the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour and a fixture in the rodeo world since its inception in 1947, over the years playing host to such legends as Roy Rogers, the Judds, Gene Autry, Brooks & Dunn, and Reba McEntire.
Continuing the College World Series’ proud tradition of establishing Omaha as a home for champions, the Pro Rodeo Tour will hold the Justin Boots Championships in Omaha at the Roundup from Sept.23 – 25, 2010. Only the top 12 contestants or teams in the 2010 Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Standings for each event will make it to Omaha, with the winner there being crowned Tour Champion.
The rodeo features stars from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and lasts about two hours. It is followed by a short intermission, and then the concert begins, lasting another 60 – 90 minutes! A Rodeo Queen will be crowned, in addition to a Little Miss and Little Mister River City Rodeo, with a Mutton Bustin sheep riding competition for the kids.
Tickets will be sold through Ticketmaster:
Entertainment Suite: Price TBA
(includes suite for 18-20 people and option to purchase food and drinks at both the rodeo and concert)
Premier Season – Rows 1-4: $207
(includes tickets for all three nights, parking pass, commemorative pin, admission to the Chute Clubs, and the right to renew the same seats each year!)
Club Season – Rows 4-8: $177
(includes tickets for all three nights, commemorative pin, admission to the Chute Clubs, and the right to renew the same seats each year!
Lower Bowl Seats: $54
Upper Bowl Seats: $29
High Bowl Seats: $17
Also check the River City Roundup’s website for deals like the Family Four Pack and $5 Off multiple night coupon.
Nightly after parties will be held at the Hilton Omaha from 9pm – 1am, Thursday – Saturday (September 23rd – 25th). At 11pm each night, that days’ champion cowboys will be introduced and interviewed on stage, receiving their championship buckles!
Rodeo champions from 2009 include:
Ryan Gray, Bareback Riding Champion
Luke Branquinho, Steer Wrestling Champion
Brad Culpepper, Team Roping (Heeling) Champion
David Key, Team Roping (Header) Champion
Issac Diaz, Saddle Bronc Riding Champion
Trevor Brazile, Tie-Down Roping Champion
Lindsay Sears, Barrel Racing Champion
J.W. Harris, Bull Riding Champion
The Ak-Sar-Ben 4-H Youth Livestock Exposition
2010 marks the 83rd year for the livestock expo. From September 21 – 26, more than 2,000 4-H families will descend upon the Qwest Center from Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
There are standard livestock judging competitions in Dairy, Feeder Calf, Breeding Beef, Horse, Market Beef, Market Broilers, Meat Goats, Market Lamb, Market Swine, and Breeding Swine, but that’s just the beginning. There is also a Herdsmenship competition, a Fitting Contest, Youth Ambassador Competition, Quiz Bowl, and a Premier Exhibitor competition dealing with project production and management knowledge.
The 4-H member must be 10 years of age by January 1st of the current year to compete or 12 years of age for the horse exhibitors.
Those coming to Omaha from out of town should be sure to take advantage of the special discounted rates set-up for 4-H Families.
The Douglas County Fair
Like any good fair, the Douglas County Fair has a taste of everything, and might surprise some people with the diversity of its attractions.
For the kids, there is Agventureland, an area designed to teach how agriculture affects daily life, and the Ag Magic Shows, which mix magic and learning. Further themed areas for children include Construction Junction, Giddy Up Gulch (which features exhibits about the Old West), and a Community Stage with dance groups and performers the kids will surely love.
For the adults, there’s plenty of entertainment to find interesting, as well. There’s a Cooking Stage that demos techniques and teaches about new recipes, and the annual BBQ competition is known for its free samples. Not be outdone, there are contests for Nebraska Homebrewers and Vintners to test their mettle.
And if eating and drinking isn’t your thing, there are group trail rides that reenact Old West wagon trains. There’s even a chance to take on some of the city’s best and brightest in the Omaha City Chess Championship. And….shopping!
Finally, perhaps the most noticeable feature of the Fair is the Heritage Parade. Annually one of Omaha’s late summer highlights, thousands line Capitol Avenue and 10th Street for a chance to see the giant balloons, floats, and pageantry.