Western Heritage Classic officials say event expected to bring in $1.5M for City of Abilene

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Western Heritage Classic, a ranch rodeo that was started by Abilene ranchers in 1985, comes back to Abilene this weekend after being canceled for the first time ever in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

After branding in the spring of 1985, ranchers wanted a place to blow off steam. 

“Most events don’t survive 36 years,” said Phil Guitar, local ranch owner. 

Several ranches got together with the Guitar family and The Western Heritage Classic was born. 

“Most of them are very historical ranches, 1800’s, and they were the back bone of ranching in Texas,” said Guitar.

And since 1985 they have held ranch rodeos at the Taylor County Expo Center, where the ranchers can compete and the public can see what it’s like to be a professional cowboy. 

“We wanna stay as close to the ranch and what you would probably be doing on the ranch as we can be,” said Guitar. 

“Team pinning, team branding, team doctoring, and they also do buck riding, and cow milking is the other one,” said Rochelle Johnson, executive vice president for the Taylor County Expo Center. 

Guitar says not being able to hold the event for the first time in 2020 because of the pandemic hurt local businesses. 

“This weekend is the biggest weekend for most restaurants and motels for the year,” said Guitar. 

Johnson says the event brings in outside dollars. 

“It drives about $1.5 million of economic impact into our community,” said Johnson. 

So for Guitar, not doing it this year wasn’t an option, and says they are excited to get back to their roots for this Abilene affair. 

For tickets and information click the link. 

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