This picture, taken in the winter months of 2023, shows the early work done in preparing the north end of the Abilene rodeo arena for renovations. Photo courtesy DeLynn Farson.

The Abilene rodeo is the same excellent show, but fans, and especially contestants, will see improvements in the arena.

Abilene resident John McDonald has been working on revamping and updating the timed event end of the arena, the north end where the steer wrestlers, tie-down ropers, team ropers, barrel racers and breakaway ropers begin their runs.

He installed a new timed event chute, built pens for steers and calves, built a new “arrow” chute (to load individual animals in), and constructed new arena fence. He also added pens, gates and a stripping chute at the end for the animals.

The changes will benefit the contestants; the ropers will be able to enter the box from the back, instead of going through the arena to enter through the front. Pens of steers and calves will be located on the north end of the arena, instead of having to send them through the arena during the show, and the steers and calves will be able to be placed according to the order they are needed for competition.

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