SPRINGDALE -- Wednesday, the Rodeo of the Ozarks rode into Parsons Stadium in Springdale. The seventy-year tradition kicked off with a parade through the city.
Thurman "Shorty" Parsons, Pat Hutter's father, started the Rodeo of the Ozarks in 1944.
"My dad was just a country guy, and a farmer, and he loves everybody," said Hutter. "Daddy wanted to do something special, because he knew all the farmers here, and we just enjoyed it, it was just a fun time for four days, and so he just decided every year he'd like to do that."
At just ten years old, Hutter was more comfortable on her bike, but her father told her it was time to trade it in for a horse.
"The first day we all got saddled up and started from home, we had a great vineyard out beside the house while sure enough my horse went down the row of the great vineyard," reminisced Hutter. "But my brothers caught me at the other end, and of course, Dad just said get back on we're gonna ride, and from then on I have fallen in love with it." She became a champion barrel racer.
At eighty years old, Pat Hutter remains a champion for the rodeo, held in the stadium that bears her father's name.
"My daddy wouldn't even believe it, he's been dead now 26 years and he wouldn't believe how much has changed since he passed away," she said.