The 78th New Windsor Rodeo kicked off on Thursday, and after such a long run traditions have been formed. 

“People in this town they take work off, extra days, devoted to making this event happen,” said NWR Treasurer Colby Staker. Staker is a prime example. He grew up in Aledo and has been going to the rodeo most of his life. He has served in the director position for the last couple of years. 

He says that the entire town stops from the get go. The parade shuts down the highway, then it’s three days of carnival, food, and rodeo. 

“It’s hard to put it in words,” said Staker. “You’ve got to see it.”

He definitely isn’t the only one. With the longest running rodeo in the IPRA, many family traditions have been born. That includes with the president of the NWR, Brent Peterson. He has three generations of his family involved at the rodeo and he says that kind of bond is what makes it stand out. 

“It’s the families, the mutual tie, it’s everything that brings people here,” said Peterson. “New Windsor has the name.”

Peterson chokes up when talking about it at times. He says the bonds the rodeo creates in a town of 600 are truly indescribable. 

The impressive history of the event also leaves room for some strong roots to be grown. 

“Half of my life, I was 25 when I come and I’m f50 now,” said the livestock manager Kevin Hampton. 

Hampton has been around the rodeo life his entire life, including his 25 years at NWR. He’s been all over the country and says that New Windsor is definitely special, and it’s because of the people. 

“I just think the crowd, I mean in a town so small and all the people they come here,” said Hampton. “I mean for a small town it draws the biggest crowd I go to all year, by far.”

He says a lot of the people he meets in New Hampton are like family. Hampton says after just a year, he found himself coming back to New Windsor for a funeral for someone he only met briefly and that he takes time to come back and see people here. He says rodeo in general is a close knit kinship.

“A lot of these people are just like part of the family,” said Hampton. “I have to say one thing about the rodeo business, it’s kind of a family deal, definitely.”