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Rodeo Spotlight Poteet, TX Strawberry Festival
story by Lori O’Harver
For the last 70 years, the Poteet Strawberry Festival has been growing like spring-fed berries in the Artesian belt of Texas. Founded in 1886 and named for it’s blacksmith and postmaster, the town that today is still under 5,000 in population soon gained another visionary citizen in Henry T. Mumme. Mumme donated land to the Artesian Belt Railroad, a line built by land developer Charles Simmons to provide transportation for prospective property buyers and investors. Mumme built a general store next to the railway station and his wife planted a few rows of strawberries next to an artesian well for the store’s produce section. Sharp marketers, the lot of them, San Antonio headlines read ‘Crimson Berries Beckon Hungry Tourists to Poteet’.
That’s how it all began, the festival that attracts nearly 100,000 visitors annually to the town George Strait grew up in. Several stages will feature headline music acts from Tanya Tucker to Foghat, there are parades and carnival rides. A large, local contingency of strawberry growers see that the berry that made the town famous is represented in all its splendor. There are parades, but most importantly, there’s bronc riding and a lot of it.
With two performances at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on both Saturday, April 14, and Sunday, April 15, the cowboys and cowgirls of the Texas Bronc Riders Association are set to take the stage. While the bareback, bronc riding and ranch bronc riding are open events, the ladies ranch bronc riding is by invitation.
“Our tour stops are growing for the Texas Bronc Riders Association and we’re very proud of the traction our organization is gaining,” Daryl McElroy, TBRA president said. “The Poteet Strawberry Festival is one we look forward to and are proud to keep Texas traditions of bronc riding front and center at this iconic event.”
The TBRA was founded to create more opportunities for bronc and bareback riders to showcase their skills and provide quality competition, a world class finals, increased prize money and scholarships. To date, TBRA members and past members have qualified for RFD TV’s The American, are in the top fifteen in the pro ranks, have gained national media attention and been great ambassadors for the sport.
To learn more about the TBRA, please visit www.txbroncriders.com.