Thanks to Sutton Rodeo and Brookings Community!
Brookings, S.D. (11/22/2021) – Yeehaw, indeed! The Swiftel Center and Sutton Rodeo celebrated record-breaking attendance over the last ten years for the 2021 Brookings PRCA Rodeo hosted November 5 and 6 at the Swiftel Center in Brookings, SD. Over 3,500 attendees watched the rip-roarin’ action between the two rodeo performances, the highest attended rodeo in the last decade of Swiftel Center history.
The all-time attendance record for the PRCA rodeo dates back to 2002, with over 4,600 attendees between the three performances. In the early years of rodeo history, the PRCA rodeo hosted a Friday and Saturday night performance as well as a Saturday afternoon performance. This accounts for why that year continues to hold the highest attendance record.
The Brookings PRCA Rodeo is the longest running event in Swiftel Center history, with 21 years of rodeo performances. In 2019, the Brookings PRCA Rodeo celebrated its 20th anniversary of performances at the Swiftel Center. The 2021 event marks the rodeo return after canceling the 2020 performances due to COVID-19. The attendance numbers certainly showed just how ready the Brookings community was for rodeo to return!
Throughout the decades, the PRCA rodeo event has been called by several different names. At its inception, the event kicked off as the “Last Chance Bonanza PRCA Rodeo,” meaning it was the last chance contestants had to earn points towards competing at the PRCA Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas, NV. In 2007, the event changed its name to “First Chance Bonanza PRCA Rodeo,” becoming the first chance contestants had to compete for the following year’s NFR. In 2021, the event changed names once again and is now known as the “Brookings PRCA Rodeo.” The new name reflects the commitment to the Brookings community as a featured event for Brookings and surrounding communities to come together to enjoy first-class rodeo competition.
Thanks to the Brookings community for continuing to support rodeo events at the Swiftel Center. Our fans are what make events special. Although technically the Swiftel Center is a building, truly it is a gathering space and memory-making place. We are proud to serve our community by bringing people together to experience moments like the Brookings PRCA Rodeo.
History of Sutton Rodeo Company
The history of Sutton Rodeo Company parallels the growth and development of rodeo for nearly the entire 20th century and beyond.
In 1926, the Edwin Sutton family began producing their own rodeos on the home ranch in Sully County. Originally the rodeo was just a pleasant pastime when a group of people got together on a Sunday. However, Edwin saw a possibility for profit and joined with George Fairbank to begin a touring rodeo.
James H. Sutton, Sr. took Sutton rodeo to the next stage in the 1950s when he entered into a partnership with Erv Korkow. As one of the first members of the RCA, Sutton/Korkow stock performed at the first National Finals Rodeo at Dallas, Texas in 1959. The Company won Bull of the Year with “Baldy” in 1961. James was the first Stock Contractor to be inducted in the PRCA Hall of Champions in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1982.
In 1968, James Sutton, Jr. became a partner with his dad, forming Sutton Rodeo Company and the tradition continued. Sutton Rodeo had three PRCA Horse of the Year awards, “Deep Water” in 1979 and “Big Bud” in 1985 and “Chuckulator” in 2012, Top Saddle Bronc of the World and WNFR. Sutton Rodeo stock has been selected to perform at 55 of the 57 National Finals Rodeos. Jim, along with wife Julie, took the company to the next level with a focus on production and innovation. Jim & Julie began Rodeo Rapid City formally known as the Black Hills Stock Show Rodeo in 1978, a rodeo nominated nineteen times for PRCA “Indoor Rodeo of the Year” winning this award in 2002, 2003 & 2020. Jim originated the Wrangler Bullfights and the Bailey Bail-Off. He is famous for his pageantry and colorful rodeo openings, including the openings at the NFR in 1995-96.Jim has been nominated four times as “Stock Contractor of the Year.” Before her passing in 2021, Julie was an experienced rodeo secretary and NFR timer, and was in charge of publicity and advance promotion.
Jim’s son, Steve, is co-owner of Sutton Rodeo and NFR pickup man in three decades (1978, 1981, 1986, 1993 & 1995). As the fourth generation of Sutton Rodeo Company, Steve has been a PRCA member since 1976, and became a Stock Contractor in 1982. In 2010, Steve was inducted into the Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center as “Present Cowboy Great.” Wife Kim, a 7X WNFR timer, assists the rodeo company in the areas of timing, publicity and marketing.
Steve and Kim’s children, the fifth generation of Sutton Rodeo, while reaping the benefit of over 80 years of experience are hard at work, looking at ways to continue the legacy and add their own improvements to the company. Their daughter, Amy, also a 3X WNFR timer, started timing PRCA rodeos in 2006 and is the office manager for Sutton Rodeos Inc. Her husband, Steven Muller helps with the livestock management and rodeo production. Son, Brent, 2020 NFR pickupman started his career as a pickup man in 2004 and became a PRCA contestant in 2007.He also has been the NFR assistant chute boss for 7 years. Son, Brice is the company flank man, working with the livestock management and rodeo production, joining the PRCA ranks in 2010. All have pursued college degrees in Animal Science and/or Business and intend to use these degrees to continue the tradition of raising 90% of their breeding stock. The future looks strong with the start of the sixth generation, with grandson Shaden James and granddaughter Shally Rayne children of Amy & Steven as well as granddaughters Ruby Belle and Stella Joy daughters of Brice & Alyssa.