Saturday, June 22, 2024

‘This is my first rodeo’


‘This is my first rodeo’

Springtown’s new chamber director at the helm for 39th annual Wild West Festival on Saturday


SPRINGTOWN — The Wild West Festival is not new to Springtown, but it is for the Springtown Area Chamber of Commerce’s new Executive Director Terri Toone.

Toone has never been to the chamber’s central event before but has worked on organizing this year’s festival as part of her new role.

Why hasn’t Toone ever attended the Wild West Festival? Because the event normally falls on her birthday.

“I'm usually out in Cabo fishing,” Toone said. “I haven't attended. This is my first rodeo.”

The Wild West Festival occurs annually on the Springtown Square and features a variety of vendors, food trucks, activities for children, live music, a barbecue contest, a rodeo and a parade. The 39th annual Wild West Festival will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16.

Toone described the process of preparing for the festival as “challenging but fun.” She said the fun part is getting to meet and talk with the vendors, and the challenging part is trying to visualize the layout of an event that she’s never been to. The 39th annual Wild West Festival is expected to be a record year for vendors since vendor space is sold out and there is a waiting list.

Toone imagines that her role on the day of the Wild West Festival will entail shadowing the chamber’s outgoing Executive Director Amy Walker and solving any issues that arise. She also has a specific objective that she would like to accomplish.

“One of my goals is to try to stop at every vendor booth and introduce myself because I actually feel like I have become friends with some of these vendors because I've talked to them, some on a daily basis,” Toone said. “I don't know if I can hit them all but just to see what we can improve on and just to introduce myself so next year we'll both be able to put a face with a name.”

Chamber Board President Jennifer Conway expects that Toone will be surprised to see the number of people who attend the Wild West Festival. Conway said she has tried to be there for Toone and help where she can, and the experience of working with Toone has been good so far.

“She's been wonderful,” Conway said. “Her and Monica (Beall) both are great. Monica has been a lot of help the last couple of weeks just really advertising and helping us with advertising.”

For her part, Conway is excited about the Wild West Festival – particularly about 95.9 FM The Ranch attending the event for the first time.

“I look forward to the excitement and the energy (the festival) brings to our town,” she said. “We've been doing it for a long time, and a lot of people when they hear ‘Springtown,’ they're like, ‘Oh, that's where that Wild West Festival is.’ It's like a staple.”

Conway also pointed out that the festival wouldn’t exist without volunteers to run it.

“It's a lot of work,” she said. “(There’s) a lot of amazing volunteers that show up to put this on. If it weren’t for our volunteers, obviously, we couldn't do it.”

Toone plans on bringing a special guest to the Wild West Festival – her young granddaughter, who roundly rejected Toone’s encouragement to participate in mutton bustin’ at the event’s rodeo but is looking forward to getting a snow cone at the festival.

“She's really excited,” Toone said. “She wants to know everything that's going to be out of the kids’ area.”

Wild west festival to-do list

  • Park your vehicle at Springtown First Baptist Church or Springtown Elementary School. Then, hop on a shuttle to head to the square.
  • Watch the parade, which starts at 10 a.m. The parade will start at State Highway 199 from Hilltop Drive and proceed west to Farm-to-Market Road 51. Then it will turn north on FM 51 to the square, and then turn east at Second Street by city hall and proceed to Springtown Elementary for off-loading.
  • Enter the 24th annual Wild West Festival State Championship Barbecue Cook-off by Friday, Sept. 15. The contest will take place the day of the festival in the park behind Brookshire’s, and $10,000 will be given out as prize money.
  • Visit 95.9 FM The Ranch’s booth by the children's area to play games and win prizes.
  • Listen to live music. Wisper Cox will perform at 9 a.m.; Judy Ballew Conger will take the stage at 9:30 a.m.; tribute band The 8tracks will rock on at 11:15 a.m.; and Hilltop Family Church worship band will close out the day at 2 p.m.
  • Watch the gunfighting shows at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:45 p.m.
  • Cheer for the rodeo contestants. Bull riding is at noon and 6 p.m., and mutton bustin’ will take place at 3 p.m. All events will take place in Springtown Park. Admission is free for kids ages 5 and under, $5 for kids ages 6-12, $15 for kids older than 13 years old and $15 for adults.
  • Shop at local vendor booths and grab a bite to eat. See C7 for the vendor directory.
  • Bring your kids to the children’s area. There will be a petting zoo, horse rides, inflatables, a train and remote-control car racing, among other attractions. Tickets for rides are $1 per ticket.