YOUR SIDE OF THE FENCE: Buffalo Bill Rodeo upgrades, replaces fencing for rodeo animals in North Platte |

YOUR SIDE OF THE FENCE: Buffalo Bill Rodeo upgrades, replaces fencing for rodeo animals in North Platte

By Ruth Nicolaus

North Platte, Neb. –May 15, 2023 – The bucking horses and bulls at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo in North Platte are getting a remodeled crib.

New fence has been installed in the pens for the horses and bulls at the Wild West Arena in North Platte, for the rodeo.

About 300 feet of new continuous fencing has been put in, after taking out old fencing, said Jack Morris, chairman of the Buffalo Bill Rodeo.

The center alley was upgraded about ten years ago, and this year, it was time to do the pens, he said.

The old pens had no overhead support and were worn out, having “patch on top of patch.”

The new fencing is the cross fencing of individual pens for horses and bulls to be housed in. It is seven-rail, standing seven feet tall, with 2 ½ inch pipe top rail and overhead supports installed to provide more stability.

The fencing upgrades are good for animals and people alike, said Jack Morris, chairman of the Buffalo Bill Rodeo committee. “It’s for the safety of the help and the animals and is more efficient when sorting the horses and bulls. We’re always looking for ways to improve the rodeo for not only the fans but the animals and the help behind the scenes. Giving the horses and bulls a good home while they’re in North Platte is important.”

New water tanks were also installed. In the past, each pen had its own water tank, with its own float and hoses running to it. Now, tanks are shared between two pens, which cuts down on the amount of equipment needed and the damage that a large farm animal can do to equipment. “The bulls get to jostling each other in the pens, and with the position of these tanks, it lessens the possibility of damage to equipment,” Morris said.

Jeff White, a rodeo committee member and Hershey resident, did the welding for the project. Like Morris, the safety and welfare of the animals and the people is top concern to him. “The fences are taller,” he said. “We’ve found that if an animal can’t get its head over the fence, they won’t try to jump it.” 

For ease of use, each pen has two gates, each swinging in opposite directions, so animals can be sorted in the center alley going either direction.

The back pens consist of ten individual pens, each about 50 feet by 60 feet, to allow for plenty of space for the animals. Morris said not all animals can be penned together, depending on if they’re horses and bulls and their temperament. “The position of the pens and the different sizes works good for the safety of the animals, and having enough room for them.”

During the week of rodeo, more than 120 horses and bulls are housed in the pens. They are owned by Beutler and Son Rodeo Co., Elk City, Okla..The Beutler family has been contracted to provide bucking horses and bulls for the Buffalo Bill Rodeo since 1948. Bennie Beutler and son Rhett are the third and fourth generations in the family business.

This year’s Buffalo Bill Rodeo is June 14-17 in North Platte. Performances begin nightly at 8 pm. Tickets range in price from $11-$24 and can be purchased online at, at the NebraskalandDays office, and at the gate.

For more information and a complete schedule of NebraskalandDays events, visit the website or call the office at 308.532.7939.

Horses and bulls rest in their pens at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo in North Platte in this photo from 2020. Fencing has been replaced this year. Photo by Ruth Nicolaus
Buffalo Bill Rodeo committee member Jeff White welds fencing at the Wild West Arena in North Platte. Replaced fencing will provide better accommodations for the bucking horses and bulls for the rodeo. Photo by Jack Morris.

–Buffalo Bill Rodeo