Official check-in will begin July 4 in 2014.

The 22nd consecutive International Finals Youth Rodeo is still several months away, but IFYR officials already have turned their attention well toward next July.

Shawnee’s Civic and Cultural Development Authority, the governing board of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center which also oversees the IFYR, discussed recently when official check-in will begin.

Mike Jackson, operations manager at the Expo Center and IFYR coordinator, once again pointed out that official dates have are July 6-11 next year.

The several hundred volunteers for the IFYR who make it possible to hold the richest youth rodeo in the world will get to spend their July 4 holiday next year greeting contestants and their families.

That’s because Friday, July 4, will be the beginning of the official check-in for the IFYR.

The first performance will be on Sunday, July 6, at 8 p.m. The Sunday night opening was put into place several years ago, after many years of beginning the IFYR on a Monday morning.

Several changes are on the horizon.

For one, the IFYR will have its own web site in 2014. “We presently have one website which is for the Expo Center and the IFYR,” Jackson said. “We’ll have two different websites next year. We’ll have an IFYR website and an Expo website,” he has explained.

Jackson mentioned earlier there will be changes on the online entry process intended to simplify the information.

For the second consecutive year, all entries must be done online. Entries will open on April 1, 2014.

Jackson promises to have all of the online changes in place and worked out by that time.

Jackson said in November that applications for personnel for the IFYR will be taken this month. He intends to have the personnel decisions made by February.

A change in rough stock contractors was made for last summer’s rodeo, and Jackson said “it turned out to be great.”

By the time contestants begin arriving for IFYR 22, the four comfort stations will have been remodeled inside. On the Authority’s agenda for Thursday is to discuss and take possible action on the bids for that remodeling project.

The roofs of all those facilities were redone in the fall of 2012 and early winter of 2013.

Next month is the annual International Final Rodeo in Oklahoma City. The IFYR’s six youth directors will attend that, he said.