A brief history
The Abbyville Frontier Days PRCA Rodeo and BBQ began as a one day celebration commemorating the 100 year centennial of the state of Kansas. This initial celebration was held on July 15, 1961.
Clifford "Pinky" Busick was the creator of this celebration, starting it off with a loan of $10 from his father.
This first festivity consisted of numerous events including a bonnet contest, beard contest, antique display, horse show, carnival, and bean dinner. In the evening, the musical Oklahoma was performed for after-dinner entertainment. The whole event was a huge success for the town of Abbyville.
After this first year, Pinky worked to continue the rodeo as an annual event. Year after year, he was the working clown for the rodeo. The second Abbyville rodeo - and this one was actually a rodeo! - was held on the third weekend in May of 1963. This started a tradition, and the rodeo has been held on the third weekend in May up to this day. It has since become a weekend affair, lasting three days and two nights. Everything was run by locals. Livestock providers, the organist, specialty acts, baton twirlers, and even the concession stand - complete with homemade goods - were all filled by residents of Abbyville and nearby towns. A BBQ dinner was held Saturday night, and prize money was given to all competitors following dinner. The rodeo put Abbyville on the map!
The rodeo still exists today, taking place on the third weekend of May, running from Thursday through Sunday. It is now a PRCA sanctioned event. Competitions have since expanded and now include common rodeo contests such as barrel racing, mutton bustin', bull riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, and other special events. Saturday always holds the parade, where two 5 or 6 year old children are crowned Uncle Sam and Miss Little Britches. Following the parade is always a ham and chicken noodle lunch. Saturday night is always the BBQ dinner followed by fresh pie for dessert. Food traditions have remained!
Despite Abbyville being such a small town, the rodeo has kept going strong for over half a century. It is an event always associated with Abbyville, and one in which the town takes pride! Even today the grounds are helping to put Abbyville on the map. Check out this music video that was filmed on the Abbyville Rodeo Grounds!