By Travis Mounts
The Conway Springs Development Foundation has agreed to take over operation of Argonia’s two rodeo events.
The City of Argonia previously announced it was looking for a group to take over the Argonia Rodeo, held each May on the same weekend as the Argonia Days celebration, and the Bronc Kraft Memorial Rodeo, held each Labor Day weekend. The two rodeos most recently have been put on by Plains Church, but the church had informed the city it no longer felt it could handle the requirements of staging the events.
At the Argonia City Council meeting in January, city clerk Tara Pierce said it would be difficult for the city to put on the events, especially the May rodeo since that is at the same time as Argonia Days. A few years ago, the city took over planning for Argonia Days.
“They’ve stepped up to take that,” Pierce said about the foundation.
She said the rodeos are very important to Argonia.
“I remember going as a kid to the Argonia rodeo,” she said.
Taking on the rodeo is just the latest activity for the Conway Springs Development Foundation, which has become very active in its short existence. While the foundation has mostly focused on events in Conway Springs, its members recognize the close community ties between Conway Springs and Argonia.
“We’re excited,” said Jessica Lynch, a board member with the Conway Springs Development Foundation. “We’re looking forward to helping our neighboring communities.”
She said that Argonia is like a sister city to Conway Springs. Many people, herself included, have family ties to both towns.
Lynch said the rodeo is a good fundraising opportunity for the foundation, which will strengthen what it does.
“We want to be able to do good, but we need to have the money to do it,” she said.
It was important for Argonia to find a partner as soon as possible to secure the availability of Kraft Rodeo Co., which has produced the rodeos in Argonia, Conway Springs and many other Kansas communities for years. Kraft Rodeo is a Kansas company based in Abbyville, in southwest Reno County.
The Labor Day rodeo is named after the late Bronc Kraft, who died in 2011 on his way to the Argonia rodeo. Bronc was a co-owner of Kraft Rodeo and was actively involved in the family business.
Repairs will be needed at the rodeo grounds before the rodeo is held in May. Discussions on those repairs will be on the agenda at the Argonia City Council meeting on Monday.