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Freedom Oklahoma Annual Rodeo
Lisa Varga and Anita Waggoner
Lisa Varga gets into the bull barrell in Freedom, Oklahoma

Nestled along the Cimarron River in Northwest Oklahoma, the small country cow town of Freedom boasts a scenic green valley, defying its location in the heart of Tornado Alley, where, despite rumors, tornadoes seldom make an appearance. As of 2023, the town's population stands at 179.

During the third weekend in August each year, Freedom welcomes thousands of rodeo fans attending the Annual Freedom Rodeo, transforming the tranquil town into a lively hub of activity.

Established eight years after the 1893 Cherokee Outlet Land Run, Freedom's origins trace back to 1901, a testament to the town's enduring spirit. The Santa Fe Railroad Company's line, connecting Waynoka and Buffalo, contributed to the town's prosperity by 1928. Back then, the bustling town featured various businesses, including a grocery store, auto repair garage, drug store, barber shop, and more.

In 1928, the population reached two hundred fifty-one, growing to two hundred eighty-one when Cheyenne entered the scene. The picturesque main street, adorned with wooden storefronts and wooden sidewalks, holds the potential to become a popular Oklahoma tourist destination.

Freedom's rustic charm extends to its quaint infrastructure, lacking stoplights but featuring a school, town hall, post office, legion hall, western museum, sewing shop, country cafes, rodeo arena, bank, and a saloon.

Devoid of law enforcement, the townsfolk resist any intrusion, with word spreading rapidly at the mere sight of a state trooper or sheriff's vehicle. The challenges faced by Freedom farmers, grappling with droughts, wind, rain, and insects, mirror the resilience required during the dust bowl and Great Depression eras.

Cheyenne, drawn to the country lifestyle, initially found solace in Freedom's simplicity. However, over time, the town's unique dynamics and her own evolution made it increasingly difficult to stay. As she navigated the town's tight-knit community, Cheyenne embraced the resilience needed to thrive in Freedom, realizing that what doesn't break you in this town only makes you stronger. In the end, the liberating feeling turned into an undeniable impossibility to stay.




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