The International Finals Youth Rodeo returns to celebrate its 26th year July 8-13 at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center, 1700 W. Independence, in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The IFYR is the richest youth rodeo in the world, with more than $250,000 in prize money, championship saddles and buckles for contestants to pursue. Fans can enjoy the kick-off performance Sunday, July 8 at 8 p.m. and daily performances July 9-13 at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

More than 850 contestants from across the United States and Australia will compete in 10 events running simultaneously in three arenas throughout the week. Featured events include barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, goat tying, team roping, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, bull riding, saddle bronc riding and bareback riding. The IFYR consists of two long go-rounds and a short go. All contestants compete once in each of the long go-rounds. The top 15 averages in each event will compete Friday night in the championship round short go for prizes and a portion of the cash purse.

The Tin Star Market, a shopping exhibition, is open July 8 from noon to 8 p.m. and July 9-13 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Vendors are located outside and fill the interior of the air-conditioned Heart of Oklahoma Conference Center. While the Tin Star Market is affiliated with the IFYR, the event is open to everyone who wishes to shop. There will be free parking and free admission at the Expo Center.

“The Tin Star Market has become a fan favorite of IFYR every year,” said Chris Dunlap, assistant director of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center and the International Finals Youth Rodeo. “People come from all around to shop the market and take home unique items our vendors have to offer.”

The 2018 IFYR also features two special events during rodeo week. Spur for the Cure Pink Night will be held on Tuesday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m. The Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center is donating 5 percent of the proceeds from Tuesday night’s ticket sales to the Pottawatomie County Relay for Life organization, sanctioned by the American Cancer Society. All IFYR enthusiasts are also invited to attend the first ever Service Heroes Night on Friday, July 13 at 7:30 p.m. The special event will honor our service men and women and feature an honor guard and special guest Bill Ford at the Grand Entry. The first 600 veterans, active duty military members and first responders receive free admission for themselves and a guest with valid ID.

Advanced ticket purchasing is available at until Sunday, July 8 at noon. The Box Office on the grounds of the Expo Center will be open for advanced tickets sales July 6-7 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and July 8 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are also available prior to each performance throughout the week. Individual session tickets can be purchased for $12, children’s individual session tickets for $6 and senior individual session tickets for $10. Adult all session passes are $110 and child all session passes are $55.

The International Finals Youth Rodeo, held annually since 1993, is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization that presents top high school athletes with a professional rodeo. The internationally- recognized IFYR is held annually at the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The action-packed event includes hundreds of contestants vying to win more than $250,000 in prize money, competing in 10 events running simultaneously in three arenas over six days. In 2017, more than 920 contestants and their families traveled from 34 states and Australia to participate in the IFYR. For more information, visit IFYR. com or call (405) 275-7020.