Allen bank president does it all for rodeo company


David Roth-Niles City

Professional team roper Wyatt Muggli says he looks forward to competing in rodeos that Ward Rodeo Company is in charge of. Photo provided by Wyatt Muggli

ALLEN, Oklahoma — The aroma of hay, the grunting and shuffling of livestock … It’s 1 a.m. on a Sunday, and the lights are still shining at the rodeo arena.
It’s been a long day for the contestants, but Debbie Ward’s night is just getting started.
On rodeo days, Ward does whatever needs to be done, from loading and unloading livestock to sorting them into categories to accounting work.
Ward is not your typical accountant. She is also the official timekeeper for the Ward Rodeo Company, a job not taken lightly by anyone in the rodeo business, and president of the Farmers State Bank.
She is well-respected in the rodeo industry, and it truly makes a difference to the contestants to have someone they can trust keeping their time.
“I always look forward to going to the rodeos that Debbie and her husband are in charge of,” said Wyatt Muggli, a professional team roper and nephew of Oklahoma rodeo legend Lane Frost.
“Timing is one of the most important jobs at the rodeo, but it’s often overlooked. A good timer makes the whole difference between the correct person winning or losing.”
“I take my job very seriously,” Ward said. “It makes a difference to the contestants if they can be confident in the accuracy and fairness of the contest.”
She wears many hats with the Ward Rodeo Company.
“There is always something to be done in the rodeo business. It is rewarding but hard work.”
Founded in 1949, the Ward Rodeo Company has been in Terry Ward’s family for generations. Debbie Ward started working there in 2016 and married Terry Ward in June of 2019.
“She does everything involved with putting on the rodeos, from secretary and timekeeping to sorting and hauling stock,” Terry Ward said. “When she’s not banking, she is right there with me feeding stock, moving hay and building fences. We put in a lot of hours and work great together at whatever we do.”
The company upholds a level of sportsmanship it works to extend to the competitors and audience alike.

“One of the best things about going to a Ward rodeo is you know with Debbie in charge, the times and the money will always be right,” Muggli said. “It’s really reassuring as a contestant to know that she is always professional and does a great job.”
Debbie Ward believes her Oklahoma roots played a role in her ability to fully immerse herself into the rodeo business. It feels like home to her, as she has been involved with livestock and the farming lifestyle since childhood.
“No matter how much you are making, regardless of the money, work hard,” Ward said. “Always do your best because eventually the right person will notice.”
Ward said she enjoys almost every aspect of her role with the Ward Rodeo Company.
“You never know what you’ll see or the people you may meet,” she said. “Life may be crazy busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Born in Ada and raised in Allen, Ward has played a key role in the community for many years.
Besides being president and CEO of the Allen’s Farmers bank and being involved with the Allen Community Development Authority, a program dedicated to creating and bringing jobs to the Allen area, Ward had a hand in establishing the Allen Industrial Park.
“Allen is filled with good people and we want to keep those people here,” she said. “Creating opportunities and jobs will help with that.”
She attended East Central University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in finance. Throughout high school and college, Ward worked at various positions in the banking industry, from teller to loan officer.
Ward has led Farmers State Bank since 1996. Though she enjoys her bank role immensely, she said her happiness stems from long nights at the rodeo grounds.
“Ward Rodeo Company is hard work and dedication. To witness the passion that my husband has, to continue the family business that has been in existence since 1949, and as a banker to get to work in such a diverse environment has been so very rewarding. So, hopefully we’ll be truckin’ and buckin’ many years down the road.”