ABILENE, Texas (April 24, 2012) ? The 28th Annual Western Heritage Classic (WHC) will gallop into Abilene, Texas May 10-12, 2012. Held at the Taylor County Expo Center, the internationally recognized three-day event is designed to showcase the essence of the cowboy lifestyle and history.

The weekend festivities kick off with a free parade and street dance on Thursday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m. Wagons, riding clubs, antique cars and tractors, bands and floats all sport a western theme in this colorful display and celebrate into the night on the historic streets of downtown Abilene with dancing, food and western merriment.

RANCH RODEO

Created for friendly competition among local ranchers in 1985, the WHC Ranch Rodeo attracts some of the largest U.S. ranches. Working cowboys compete in events designed to test their ranch-handling skills, such as roping, bronc riding, wild cow milking, team penning, and branding. Competition is held Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. in the Coliseum. Rodeo tickets are $20.00 on Friday and $25.00 on Saturday, which includes free ground admission.

CHILDREN’S EVENTS

Cheer on your little cowboy or cowgirl as they join in the fun of the Stick Horse Rodeo, Steer Dummy Roping contest, best-dressed contest, and horse rides. Children must be registered by May 7 to participate.

WORKING RANCH HORSE COMPETITION AND RANCH HORSE SALE

The ranch horse competition demonstrates the skill and agility of ranch cowboys and their ranch work partner. Reining, roping, and cutting are showcased. The Ranch Horse Association of America (RHAA) Working Ranch Horse Competition’s national semi-finals are on Friday at 7:30 a.m., and the finals are held on Saturday at 2:30 pm. in the coliseum.

The WHC Invitational Ranch Horse Sale auctions off some of the best ranch horses available today from select consigning ranches. Last year, approximately 70 ranch horses were sold and the number keeps growing. The sale begins Saturday, May 11 at 10:00 a.m. in the coliseum.

RHINESTONE ROUND UP GALA & WESTERN ART SHOW & SALE

The Friday night Rhinestone Round-Up brings a bit of glamour to the WHC. The round-up includes fine food, great music and live entertainment for the community and cowboys to enjoy. Gary P. Nunn and Mark Powell & Lariat will be the evening’s entertainment, which will be held in the Display Building on the Expo Center grounds.

CHUCK WAGON COOK-OFF

Mouth-watering chicken fried steaks and all the fixins’ are being served to over 1,300 people in this year’s chuck wagon cook-off. Cook-off spots are limited to the first 30 wagons entered, and a $100 entry fee is required. Prize money ranging from $300 for 1st place to $50 for 5th will be awarded in five different food categories: meat, bread, beans, dessert and potatoes. For more information please contact Julie Bryant at 325-677-4376.

Additional attractions include Cowboy Matched Horse Races, a Fiddlers’ Contest, Western Art Show, and Cowboy Poetry and Music. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.westernheritageclassic.com<http://www.westernheritageclassic.com/> or call (325) 677-4376. For lodging reservations visit www.abilenevisitors.com<http://www.abilenevisitors.com>.

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