The International Finals Youth Rodeo (IFYR) honored two of the organization’s long-time supporters during an evening awards ceremony on Tuesday, July 10 at the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort. Expo Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Karl Kozel and former Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center/IFYR Director Ken Etchieson were both awarded the Friends of the Expo Award.

“It has been an honor to work with both of the gentleman over the past several decades,” said Chris Dunlap, assistant director of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center and International Finals Youth Rodeo. “The Expo Center and IFYR simply wouldn’t be where it is today without the vision of Ken and the fortitude and leadership in the community of Karl.”

Kozel was honored for his 38 years of service on the Shawnee Civic & Cultural Development Authority Board of Trustees, the entity that serves as the governing body of the Expo Center and IFYR. Etchieson served more than 20 years as the general manager of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center, the home of the IFYR. One of the first local residents to be inducted into the IFYR Hall of Fame, Etchieson was the brain trust of what is considered the world’s richest youth rodeo.

For more information on the IFYR, please call (405) 275-7020 or visit