On the tenth anniversary of Clem McSpadden’s death, the Will Rogers Stampede Rodeo Committee and the Rodeo Arena Cooperative, along with Donna McSpadden, join to share the life and legacy of a great Cherokee Citizen.
In January the property, now named Stampede Park, was deeded to the Arena Co-op so the property along with the annual rodeo, could be sustained and so that the citizens of Rogers County and visitors alike could enjoy the grounds. The Arena Co-op has been making major improvements to the property such as a new parking lot, new front entrance fence, gates and signage and general cleanup of the grounds.
“One of our goals was to make a remarkable change in the entry of the arena area, and that is where the Clem McSpadden Memorial will be,” said David Petty, Co-Chair Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo and member of the Arena Co-op. “We want to share the life of this legendary citizen with all who visit the park. Clem was a proud citizen of the Cherokee Nation, and a former Tribal Councilman; a nationally recognized Rodeo Announcer, Veteran of the US Navy having served in WWII, President pro tempore of the Oklahoma Senate; inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame, Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, Oklahoma Hall of Fame, Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, Legends of Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and into the Legend in the Bull Riding Hall of Fame.”
“His contributions to the citizens of the Cherokee Nation, Rogers County and the state of Oklahoma are endless and should never be forgotten. With this memorial we hope his timeless efforts will continue on in his memory,” said Tanya Andrews, Director of Visit Claremore and member of the Rodeo Arena Cooperative. “Clem meant so much to so many different people, we hope that this memorial will inspire people to share his legacy and his passion for this sport, and especially for the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo.”
Partnering with the Rodeo Arena Cooperative is the Cherokee Nation, represented by Keith Austin, Tribal Councilman of District 14; and Chuck Hoskin, Jr., Secretary of State of the Cherokee Nation. “What a great partnership to be involved in. The Cherokee Nation and myself, are so proud of the work the Arena Co-op is doing on this property that is truly a Crown Jewel of Claremore. What we can accomplish when there is cohesiveness and true partnerships, is simply amazing, and the public will enjoy the property for years to come,” said Keith Austin, Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilman. “The Cherokee Nation is proud to present a check for $5,000 to assist in the memorial for the late Clem McSpadden. Clem was a great Cherokee Citizen; he was a great Cherokee Cowboy and great Oklahoman.”
In addition, the Cherokee Nation announced they would partner with the Board of County Commissioners and Commissioner Dan DeLozier of District 1 to pave the entire entry of the new Stampede Park. “The Cherokees, the City of Claremore, and Rogers County Commissioners have a wonderful, productive and effective partnership,” said Commissioner DeLozier. “We have worked several projects together and it is a win-win for all involved. The Cherokee Nation had committed $10,000 to help us with the entrance of the property; it is in need of new asphalt. Today, they announced their commitment is $20,000 to ensure the new parking lot and entrance is paved!”
L to R: Mayor Bill Flanagan, Claremore City Manager Jim Thomas, Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr.; Rogers County Commissioner District 1, Dan DeLozier; Tanya Andrews, Debra West, Donna McSpadden, Ollie Starr, Keith Austin, and in front pictured here with Clem’s hat is David Petty with the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo.
“What an outstanding surprise; we are so thrilled to work with the Cherokees and all the partners involved to make sure this property is something the community and residents can be proud of,” said Jim Thomas, Claremore City Manager and Chairman of the Rodeo Arena Co-op. “We are humbled by the generosity of the Cherokee Nation and really look forward to completing this project as we get closer to the 72nd annual Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo. The 4X award winning PRCA Small Rodeo of the Year will have much to showcase at this year’s rodeo.”
The Clem McSpadden Memorial will be presented to the public on opening night of the rodeo, along with a new night, May 24. On May 24, the rodeo will host the inaugural Clem McSpadden Tub-Handle Classic Steer Roping, to kick off after the dedication to his memorial. “I believe Clem would be proud of how hard the Rodeo Committee has worked to bring this national spotlight on our hometown,” said Louie Gardner, member of the Rodeo Arena Coop. “There is no better way to honor and pay tribute to Clem than to present all the improvements and a memorial to him, to our community.”