The International Finals Youth Rodeo or IFYR is a high school rodeo event that takes place in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Young rodeo athletes from all over the world travel to the city to be a part of this internationally acclaimed event.
Contestants compete for over $250,000 in prize money, buckles, and championship saddles. At the end of the rodeo, two lucky athletes are awarded the best All-Around Cowboy and Cowgirl titles. There are two long go-rounds in which contestants take part. These are followed by a shorter championship round for the shortlisted participants.
The action takes place at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center. There are three arenas where events take place simultaneously. The contests are open to participants under the age of 19. An International Pro Rodeo Association (IPRA) permit or youth card is required to compete in the events.
Visitors will be able to enjoy action-packed sports like bull riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping, bareback riding, cowgirls barrel racing, cowgirls breakaway roping, saddle bronc riding and many others. There will also be an air-conditioned market place where all kinds of jewelry, clothing, accessories, home décor, art, and delicious food will be sold.
There is a box office on the grounds of the exposition center where tickets can be purchased. They can also be bought online and picked up at the box office. If you buy them online, it’s a good idea to pick them up ahead of time, to avoid the long lines on the days of the event.
Tickets range in price from just under $15 (Adult Individual Session Ticket) to $110 (Adult All Session Pass). Lower priced tickets are available for seniors and children between the ages of 3 and 11. Take a look at the International Finals Youth Rodeo for more information on tickets and pricing.
The Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center is a 40-minute drive from the point where I-40 and I-35 intersect. It is close to US Highway 177, which overlaps with US Highway 270, which makes it easy to reach from different directions. Information on road closures and alerts will be put up on the event’s website and social media accounts.
Free parking is available at the exposition center grounds. There are two large parking lots on site. Upon arriving at the venue, you will be directed to a parking space, depending on the size of your vehicle. Accessible parking spots will be provided close to the entrances for patrons with disabilities.
Public transportation options like buses and trains may be hard to come by in the area. If you don’t plan on driving to the venue, your best bet is to communicate with other people staying at your campsite. You may be able to take turns driving with them to the event or organize a shuttle if it is a larger group.
Onsite RV Camping is available only for participants at International Finals Youth Rodeo. You’ll need to book a spot at another campsite or RV park nearby.
There are a couple of well-equipped options just outside the city limits. At these, you’ll find scenic walking trails and can enjoy activities like fishing and kayaking. Many of the campgrounds come with facilities like full-hookups, picnic tables, WiFi, pool access, and laundry services. Lake Thunderbird State Park, which is about 25 miles away, is another good option.
You’ll need to get around on foot at IFYR. Strollers and wheelchairs are not allowed in the seating areas. Patrons with disabilities can use motorized or manual wheelchairs. Special ADA viewing areas will be set up for them. The grounds are accessible, and there are plenty of wheelchair navigable pathways throughout the venue.
You’ll fit right in if you go dressed in western attire like button-up shirts and cowboy boots. A cowboy hat is not just stylish, but will also provide much-needed shade from the sun. A pair of flat boots will complete your look and help you stay comfortable all day long.
Pack a small bag or backpack with essentials like sunscreen, sunglasses, a portable charger, hand sanitizer, and wet wipes. If you’re traveling with young kids, you may want to carry a few toys to keep them entertained. It’s a good idea to take a small amount of cash, since some of the marketplace vendors may not accept cards.
Drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. The venue can get pretty crowded on the days of the event. Stay close to your group and use the buddy system to keep up with the crew. Give kids a piece of paper with your contact information, in case they get separated.
Many of the campgrounds and RV parks have convenience stores on site where you can find basic supplies. However, they may not stock everything you need for a full meal. So plan ahead, fill your refrigerator with your favorite foods, and make sure your spice rack is stocked with flavors you love. Before lighting a fire, check if there is a burn ban in effect for the Shawnee area.
Shawnee is a small city with plenty of charm, and its quaint restaurants and bars reflect this. Hungry rodeo fans will find some delicious Southern, Mexican, Greek, and Mediterranean food to explore. If you’re not in the mood to experiment, you’ll find all your favorite chain restaurants in the city as well.
International Finals Youth Rodeo vendors offer plenty of delicious food, often including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. Whether you’re in the mood for meat-heavy rodeo fare or a light snack, you’ll find it here. Visitors will also be able to enjoy a range of juices, smoothies, and other soft drinks. Alcoholic beverages will not be sold at the venue.
Private security officers will be responsible for the safety of event staff, participants, and spectators. They will be conducting bag checks at the entrances and patrolling the grounds. Check the list of allowed items and make sure you’re not carrying anything that’s banned. Alcohol, drugs, and weapons are not allowed at the International Finals Youth Rodeo.
Oklahoma weather in July is typically warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging in the mid-90s. Rain is not typical this far into summer, but it’s always a good idea to bring some rain gear. Check the weather forecast before getting dressed for the day. Regular updates will be put up on the event’s social media pages.
Patrons who require medical support can head to the first aid station. Festival staff and volunteers can also be flagged down for help. Restrooms, including accessible facilities, will be available throughout the grounds. Medically necessary items and food will be allowed in with the proper documentation after an inspection at the front gate.