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February 09, 2024 2 min read

The story of Pecos dates way back to 1873. The famous Chisholm Trail, Goodnight-Loving Trail and Butterfield Overland mail routes all crossed in Pecos, and with several old cattle and wagon trails nearby too it wasn’t long before Pecos grew into a supply town for the many ranches within its 100-mile range. But as we all know, when you get a bunch of cowboys together, some fights are bound to happen…

Thanks to the 'Law West of the Pecos', things were mostly kept in check, minus a few gunfights (the results of which you can still see the bullet holes from in the West of the Pecos Museum). But on July 4, 1883 a more friendly competition sprung up and the world’s first rodeo took place! Braggin’ rights were on the line to find out who was the best cowhand in the West, and since it was a holiday, folks came from all over the area to see how their favorite cowboys would fare. The event featured running calves down Main Street with roping cowboys in pursuit. It was the first rodeo on record and the first to give prizes.

A. T. “Trav” Windham was considered the Pecos rodeo’s first champion. Windham was once described in print as “one of the greatest cowmen Texas ever knew”, and he roped and tied his steer in 22 seconds, winning his event and finishing second in another roping competition later that day! The tradition of rodeo continued every summer, and has been held at the Buck Jackson Arena every year since 1936. Now it's one of the PRCA’s top 40 prize-money rodeos and it still has our hearts to this day.

There's no place quite like Pecos.

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