COARSEGOLD – This is where spurs meet sparkles. The 61st annual Coarsegold Rodeo returns to Bohna Arena with Heritage Day on Friday, May 3, and professional rodeo action on Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5.
It’s an action-packed, family-friendly weekend event that “brings back the old days of rodeo, and the guests and the competitors really appreciate that,” says Susanne Waite, president of the Coarsegold Rodeo Association.Bohna Arena is perfectly situated to enjoy a sunny day and a cool breeze amidst the Sierra Nevada foothills, located at 44777 Rodeo Grounds Lane, just off Road 415 in Coarsegold.
Saturday kicks off at 11 a.m. with the Exceptional Kids Rodeo. There will be fun rodeo games like the stick horse race and the bucking bronco barrel.
Coarsegold 4-H and Graydon Kennels sponsors this special event, and they, along with Rodeo Royalty and Cal Fire employees, volunteer and help in the arena.
“This event has been in a part of the Coarsegold Rodeo for a long time, and every year it is better and better,” says Tryston Lewis of Coarsegold 4-H. “Come to the rodeo to see the exceptional kids, then stick around for the bulls and broncs, and don’t forget to visit the 4-H snowcone booth.”
Next comes the Grand Entry Procession, and the California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association competition gets underway at 1:30 p.m.
The evening festivities begin at 8 p.m. with the “Dance Under the Stars,” featuring Country and Southern Rock hits brought to the dance floor by local DJ Terry Narcon.
The weekend lineup resumes on Sunday at 8 a.m. with the Cowboy Pancake Breakfast, followed by Cowboy Church at 9 a.m.
The Grand Entry Procession at noon will be led by longtime resident and Rodeo Grand Marshall Pat Washburn, whose time in the saddle goes way back. As a young girl Pat worked at a summer cow camp.,
The 2013 Rodeo Queen will be crowned by 2012 title holder Samantha Shier, followed by more intense rodeo action.
Susanne Waite has been volunteering with the rodeo committee for about 7 years, ever since she started out as the official photographer.
“They roped me into chairing the dance, then I just started doing more and more,” she says.
“I’ve been the President now for about 5 months. I do it because I love helping others. This rodeo benefits the Eastern Madera County Youth for agricultural and educational projects. It continues a 60-year tradition, and it’s a place for family and friends to come together as a community in many ways.”
Waite says it’s no secret what draws fans to the rodeo.
“I think it’s the action, the thrill of the potential spill, the danger, and seeing a young man or woman overcome a huge physical and mental challenge and triumph in the end.”
Everyone has their own favorite rodeo events, and Coarsegold resident Waite is no exception.
“The broncs are my favorite, but I’m willing to bet most are there to see the riders take on those huge bulls.”
Saturday night the rodeo turns into a big ol’ dance under the stars, and when the question is posed whether there could be some quality cowboys in blue jeans on the dance floor, married Waite says, “Heck yea, why do you think all those single ladies are there?”
“The dance is great fun,” she continues. “We have over 500 people come out, ranging in age from teens to folks in their 70s. You’ll see all sorts of dancing, including line, two-step, even a little southern rock.”
Wondering what to wear to a rodeo dance? Apparently, for apparel, anything goes.
“Jeans, tees and boots are the norm, but we had our local high school seniors come from their prom night once, in their tuxes and ball gowns!”
Waite has a few tips for anyone looking to enhance their weekend rodeo experience.
“Get there early to get a spot in the shade, and line up right away for those Indian Tacos! And this year I hear there is going to be a Funnel Cake booth. That’s where you’ll find me, breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Organizers stress the family-friendly nature of the Coarsegold Rodeo, and say it’s okay to bring your own chairs and blankets if you want to sit on the lawn. No pets, glass or alcohol may be brought onto the premises, but baby strollers are just fine.
Sponsors of this year’s rodeo include Sierra Tel, Subway, Bud Light, Midland Tractor and the Coarsegold Community Center, among other valued supporters who will be acknowledged throughout the weekend.
Admission to the rodeo is $10 for adults, and $5 ages 12-17. Kids under age 5 are free. The 4-H club is selling food and drinks, and there will be other attractions and activities on the rodeo grounds. Admission to the dance is only $5.
“We whole-heartedly thank all who have sponsored us this year,” Waite says. “Without the sponsorships, we could not continue this worthy Coarsegold tradition!”
See you at the rodeo!
Friday May 3
Miss Coarsegold Rodeo Royalty Contest – Horsemanship and interviews, Queen’s banquet
Saturday May 4
– 11 a.m. – Exceptional Kids Rodeo
– 12 noon – Grand Entry Procession
– 1:30 p.m. – Pro Rodeo begins – Saddle and Bareback Broncs, Mutton Bustin’, Steer Wrestling, Roping, Barrel Racing and Bulls
– 8 p.m. – Dance Under the Stars (only $5 per person)
Sunday May 5
– 8 a.m. – Cowboy Pancake Breakfast
– 9 a.m. – Cowboy Church
– 12 noon – Grand Entry Procession and Miss Coarsegold Rodeo Royalty Crowning
– 1:30 p.m. – Pro Rodeo Begins – Saddle and Bareback Broncs, Mutton Bustin’, Steer Wrestling, Roping, Barrel Racing and Bulls