Central Texas Youth Fair, 70th Annual Rodeo set for June 2021

In recent months, the City of Clifton and Clifton Chamber of Commerce have been busy updating the Clifton Rodeo Arena in preparation for the 70th Annual Clifton, Texas Rodeo. The event will coincide with the Central Texas Youth Fair June 8 through 12. For the full Central Texas Youth Fair Schedule, click here. The rodeo opens at 7:30 p.m. each night June 11 and 12. Tickets cost $10 for adults or $5 for children 12 and under.

The rodeo in Clifton is something that I’m passionate about because it’s something I grew up doing my whole life.” -Drew Leigh, formerly of the Clifton Horse Show Association Board. “I just want to see that continue for kids growing up today to be a part of it in Clifton. The rodeo takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to make it successful.”

Parade of Champions

Texas Longhorns at National Western Stock Show Parade. Denver, Colorado.

The festivities begin with a Parade of Champions from the CTYF Friday, June 11, at 6 p.m. Lineup begins at 5:30 p.m. at Blossom Shoppe in downtown Clifton. Sale day is Saturday morning for youth that entered animals into the fair. Bosque County 4-H Youth will also run the concession stand for the duration of the rodeo, with sales going to benefit the program.


The Clifton Chamber of Commerce is under contract with the Clifton Horse Show Association for the next five years to produce the rodeo, with huge plans for the 70th annual competition. The Thunder River Rodeo Company and Producer Billy Hamilton is also working in conjunction to make this rodeo happen. The events include bull riding tied down roping, breakaway roping, team roping, barrel racing, mutton bustin’ and a 4-H FFA Calf Scramble Saturday night.

Tie Down Roping$70
Breakaway Roping$60
Team Roping$140
Barrel Racing$60
Bull Riding$70
Mutton Bustin’$25

Mutton Bustin’ costs $25 for youth entry. The weight limit for those participating is 55 pounds, and participants must be at least 3 years old. To enter events, contact Debi Smith at 254-366-0726. To enter Mutton Bustin’, call the Clifton Chamber at 254-675-3720. Those interested are encouraged to call and get registered, with local entries welcomed. Entries close at 10 p.m. June 7, so be sure to register before then.

Carnival, Beer and Wine, Music and Vendors

For the first time in rodeo history, beer and wine will be available for those attending the rodeo. A total of 10 vendors spaces are also available at a cost of $35 for two nights. Musical performances will be held as well, though the acts are still in the booking process. A carnival will also be present, to open June 10 through 12. Look out for rides for the kids, entertainment, and of course, the carnival staple; funnel cakes. Cash prizes are planned for the winners of each event and possibly places, with specifics to be released later. At least $1,000 has been added to the pot for each of the six main events, with more added to the pot for every entry.

History and Upgrades

The arena is located down the road from the Central Texas Youth Fair grounds off FM 219 in Clifton.

That’s what rodeo started from; what happened in real life on ranches, adapted for the real world into rodeo.” – Leigh. “It became a spectator sport, and obviously there’s a lot of cowboys and cowgirls that go up and down the road trying to make a living. It’s fun for me to see that involvement with contestants coming to town, what that brings to the local community, and why the Chamber was such a good fit for the number of people it’ll bring into town, as well as provide entertainment for the people here.”

The arena was constructed in 1951, and the city has leased the property since. Previous improvements last year included LED arena lights for night rodeo. Since then, the arena has seen use for night roping and practice events for FFA Groups. The Clifton Horse Show Association has conducted the event for the last 69 years, with the Clifton Chamber of Commerce to conduct the rodeo for the next five. Funding is being used to improve bathrooms and make them ADA-compliant. The restrooms have not been improved in nearly 30 years, though a renovation is currently underway. Bleachers are also being upgraded and repaired for safety. A total of $27,000 was previously approved by the Clifton City Council for the upgrades. The rodeo has been celebrated in Clifton since 1931.

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