This weekend, cowboys and cowgirls will gather from near and far for the first annual Tres McElroy Memorial Scholarship roping and barrel racing event on Saturday and Sunday, July 25-26.
The event honors local rancher and long-time rodeo supporter Tres McElroy who grew up and lived his life on Cherry Canyon Ranch west of Balmorhea in Jeff Davis County.
Sul Ross State University rodeo Coach CJ Aragon noted that the Sul Ross Exes alumni group normally had its big reunion each summer, but because of the coronavirus outbreak, the reunion was canceled.
Since the Exes had already booked the university’s SALE arena, board members decided they would offer roping and barrel racing, and name the event in McElroy’s honor.
“Tres did a lot around here with roping, FFA and 4-H events, and other ag-related activities,” said Aragon. “He passed away in December 2019, and the rodeo exes decided to do something in his memory. The goal is to raise at least $10,000 so we can start an endowed scholarship in his name.”
The scholarship would be awarded annually in McElroy’s name to a Sul Ross ag or rodeo student.
“If we can raise more money, we can give more scholarships, but to start an endowed scholarship, we have to raise a minimum of $10,000,” said Aragon.
In years past with the Exes reunion in place, the rodeo drew 40-60 contestants, and Aragon anticipates about that many this year. But instead of using a single arena as in the past, this year events will run in two arenas, making it easier to maintain social distancing.
“We’re trying to make it work within the current initiatives so everyone can stay safe,” said Aragon. “It’s a great cause, and it’s in memory of a really good guy.”
To stay within Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s protocols, Aragon said some events would be eliminated, and only barrel racing, breakaway roping, and team roping would be offered this year.
He stressed that the rodeo would not be a spectator event, and no tickets would be sold.
Alumni board member Curtis Evans called McElroy a “best friend,” saying, “If you needed any help or if you needed anything, he would give you the shirt off his back. We’re striving to build an endowment in his name because he helped so many people. This way, he can continue to help kids continue with rodeo.”
The rodeo events are open to everyone, and all proceeds benefit an endowed scholarship at Sul Ross in McElroy’s name.
To enter or for more information, contact CJ Aragon at 432-208-2333, or Curtis Evans at 432-249-0178.