COARSEGOLD — A long running tradition returns for a landmark year as the 65th annual CCPRA Coarsegold Rodeo starts on Friday, May 5 with Heritage Day and continues Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7 with Exceptional Kids Rodeo, lots of fierce rodeo action, live music and entertainment, Cowboy Church, Rodeo Royalty and all the extras you love, mutton bustin’ included.
The event takes place at the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds on Road 415, a venue known for its beautiful views, rich history and top quality competition.
“I’ve been going to the Coarsegold Rodeo since I was a kid and I’m so grateful that the Tweeds are keeping this tradition alive so that my kids can continue to enjoy it,” says local resident, Lanie Suderman.
She is referring to Kevin Tweed and Tanner Tweed, the father-son team comprising Pavilion Properties, who now own the rodeo grounds, along with a couple of other well-known foothill properties including The Broken Bit on Highway 41.
Back in February, when the Coarsegold Rodeo Association committee announced that they would no longer produce the annual event held traditionally the first weekend in May, the Tweeds threw their cowboy hats in the ring and said they would make the Coarsegold Rodeo happen this year.
“It is really exciting to have the Rodeo back,” says Therese Williams, Director of Public Relations for Visit Yosemite Madera County. “It is a traditional American activity and we look forward to guests near and far being able to experience it.”
Coarsegold resident and former rodeo royalty Chloe May Ferguson, 20, manages the rodeo grounds for the Tweeds, as well as all of the events that take place there. Raised here since she was four-years-old, Chloe has been involved in the rodeo longer than many.
She got her first horse at the age of six, and her passion remains with horses and rodeo. She was involved with Minarets FFA and was a founding member of the Minarets Equestrian Team, and was their Captain in her senior year. Her eventual goal is to be an Ag teacher. In the meantime, Chloe loves what she’s doing, and she is getting ready to rodeo.
Chloe explains that the Coarsegold Rodeo is currently operating under the nonprofit umbrella of the Coarsegold Community Center, and any proceeds from the event will go to the Center.
Heritage Day will be celebrated on Friday, May 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with over 800 kids from local schools attending, according to organizers.
“Heritage Day will be bigger, better and more educational than ever this year,” promises Chloe, adding that Coarsegold Elementary School teacher Melinda (Mindy) Gresham is in charge of the annual event that takes place at the rodeo grounds the day before the rodeo starts.
“We already have students from Coarsegold, North Fork, Rivergold, Spring Valley, Oakhurst, and Mountain Home School planning to attend. Each school has been asked to send one determined student to participate in Mutton Bustin’ for Heritage Days, so kids can root for their schools.”
Also on tap are live demos in the arena during Heritage Day, and at least 25 booths set up so the kids can practice activities from days gone by, like horseshoeing, gold panning, and blacksmithing. They can visit the popular petting zoo, filled with farm animals.
Please note that Heritage Days committee members are still excepting goodies for the kids’ swag bags: a terrific way to promote most organizations or businesses. Melinda Gresham can be reached via email: Mgresham@yosemiteusd.org.
This year’s Coarsegold Rodeo Grand Marshall is Michael Steen, owner and operator of Graydon Kennels in Coarsegold.
“Michael has been a huge part of the rodeo and a huge part of keeping the tradition alive,” Chloe says. “He is sponsoring the Exceptional Kids Rodeo this year and he is going to ride in with them.”
Families in the special needs community are invited and encouraged to attend this year’s Exceptional Kids Rodeo. On Saturday, May 6 at 10 a.m., kids of all ages can take part in rodeo-themed games and activities before the main rodeo action starts on Saturday. In previous years, rodeo organizers have capped the number of children able to participate, notes Chloe, but not this year.
“We are not putting a limit on the number of kids who participate in the Exceptional Kids Rodeo, and we have reached out to the greater community. Kevin Lockwood is working hard to make it bigger this year, with more prizes and more fun than ever before.”
Please RSVP and register for the Exceptional Kids Rodeo by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Slack takes place at the same time as the Exceptional Kids Rodeo.
At 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 6, the rodeo gates open. At 5 p.m. is Mutton Bustin’ and at 6 p.m. the CCPRA Coarsegold Rodeo starts. The rodeo announcer is Ted Dwyer, stock contractor is Chuck Morris with Rockin’ M Rodeo, the Rodeo Clown is Clint “Wolfie” Sylvester, DJ is Jeff Mann and the official rodeo photographer is Jake Koenon.
Saturday’s rodeo action is followed by a dance with live entertainment by the Larry Keys Band from 8 – 11 p.m.
Sunday Cowboy Church and more rodeo
Cowboy Church and Round up Breakfast start at 9 a.m. on Sunday, May 7, and at 11:30 a.m. the gates open again. At noon it’s the Royalty Crowning and then back at 12:30 p.m. it’s Mutton Bustin’ until the rodeo starts at 1:30 p.m.
Admission to the Coarsegold Rodeo is $15.00 for adults, and $5.00 for kids 6 thru 12 years of age. Ages 5 and under are free and parking is $5.00. Tickets can be purchased online at www.CGRodeoGrounds.com.