A weekend of celebration dedicated to an iconic American figure is on tap in Dubois this weekend as the town holds its annual “National Day of the Cowboy” celebration.
Every year, the day of commemoration first recognized 2005 is held on the fourth Saturday of July. In Dubois, that celebration takes the form of a rodeo, parade and special events that may not be seen at just any community event — like the “cowhide race.”
“You hook a cowhide by rope to a horse and the horse pulls you around (an arena) and you have to stay on for a set amount of time,” said Randy Lahr, an official with the celebration. “It’s not easy. You won’t see me doing that.”
The cowhide race is just one of several events occurring during the weekend.
The celebration kicks off Friday night with Dubois’ regular Friday Night Rodeo, held every Friday through the summer.
The rodeo is considered a working ranch rodeo, which means competitors are working cowboys from ranches in the area, Lahr said.
“It’s a totally different rodeo,” he said. “It’s put on by all of the dude ranches and the people who come to the dude ranches are involved.”
On Saturday, events will kick off with a parade through downtown Dubois in the afternoon and a chuckwagon serving coffee and biscuits beginning after the parade.
Later, a “poker run” will lead participants through and around Dubois.In a poker run, participants ride to pre-determined spots to collect playing cards. The person with the best poker hand after a certain number of stops generally wins a prize.
While poker runs are most often associated with motorcycles, in this case, riders will be on horseback, Lahr said.
The cowhide race will follow the poker run, as will a whiskey, wine and beer tasting. The day will wrap up with a concert titled “Romancing the West,” which presents a history of the West in song.
Also running through the weekend is the annual Headwaters National Art Show and Sale in the Headwaters Center.
On Sunday, a session of cowboy church will be held and the chuckwagon will again offer coffee and biscuits.
The celebration is under the direction of the Dubois Western Activities Association, which was created this year to oversee the National Day of the Cowboy, the community’s chariot races, usually held in the fall, and its pack horse race in June.