The end of July means it’s rodeo time in Brown County and the steering committee and scores of volunteers are out, about, and getting ready for the 44th annual Brown County Fair Association Rodeo.

This year’s “real rodeo” kicks off its three-night run at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Earl Q. Wilson Rodeo Arena, U.S. Highway 377 South. Regular performances are scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

But the fun and festivities of rodeo week begin with the Brown County Fair Association’s annual membership barbecue, from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Home Economics Building at the youth fair grounds.

Each July since 1963, volunteers have organized the annual rodeo, staging it as a fund-raiser for the Brown County Youth Fair held each year in January. Last year, more than 700 volunteers and local business people donated time and money to get the show on the ground.

As is tradition, the Brown County Rodeo features eight events, including bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, ladies breakaway roping, steer wrestling, ladies barrel racing, team roping and bull riding.

This year’s rodeo will be an “all-Dodge” sponsored rodeo, which means competitors will be allowed to earn points to qualify for the Texas Dodge Circuit Finals.

Andy Stewart will be returning to Brown County as this year’s announcer. Andrews Rodeo Co. is also returning as the stock contractor and “Funny Man,” Cameron Keeton, will bring comedy to the arena.

Admission to the rodeo is $7 at the gate for adults, or $5 in advance, and $3 at the gate for kids and $2 in advance. A few box seats are still available for each performance night. For more information on the box seats, contact Jeanneene Johnson at 643-3545.

Rodeo tickets are available at KOXE, Scott’s Western Wear, Corral West, and both locations of Citizen’s National Bank.

The Brown County Rodeo Parade is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday in downtown Brownwood, but hold on to your hats, cow folks, because even though the basic parade route hasn’t changed, the direction has. You can grab your same curb side seat, but the parade will come in a reverse direction of its traditional path — ending and beginning, still, at the coliseum.

Or, if you prefer to be in the parade, there’s that option. There’s no entry fee, and you may win a prize in one of seven categories, including riding clubs, horse-drawn vehicles, decorated vehicles, antique vehicles, in-town floats, out-of-town floats and bikes or unicycles. Contact the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce at 646-9535 for an entry form. Or, entry forms are available at the chamber office in the Santa Fe Depot Civic and Cultural Center, and should be turned in there when completed.

The Rodeo Dance, this year, will start at 8 p.m. Saturday and is being held in the Brownwood Coliseum with the Eli Young Band. Tickets are available in advance at KOXE, Wendlee Broadcasting, Lone Star Screenprinting and Lone Star Promotional Products, TexasBank, Citizen’s National Bank, Scott’s Western Wear, and the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce. Advance tickets are $15, and the admission price goes up $5 at the door. An additional $10 cooler charge is being added for those bringing their own refreshments.