Jorden Minor, from Hermiston, Oregon guides her horse around the final barrel during Saturday night's barrel race event at the Lake Chelan PRCA Pro Rodeo. Minor cleared the barrels in 17.71 seconds for first place.
CHELAN — The Chelan Rustlers Saddle Club hosted its second pro rodeo Friday and Saturday with more than 100 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association members competing for buckles, titles and prize money.
“It’s kind of the creme de la creme of rodeos,” Chelan Rustlers Saddle Club publicity coordinator Cindy Walls said of the event the club put on in partnership with Aces Wild Pro Rodeo.
Walls said the Saddle Club decided to bring back the pro rodeo last year after more than a decade without. She said despite COVID restrictions, they had a good turnout last year. She said the club believes there’s an “appetite for that and a market for that here in Chelan,” prompting its renewal for a second run.
Most of the competitors came from Washington and Canada. They competed in events like bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, bull and saddle-bronc riding.
The Pro Rodeo is just one of the projects the Saddle Club has taken under its wing... or rather, hoof.
“We’re an equine facility, so the common thread is people who have horses and enjoy all different aspects of horse riding,” Club vice president Jodie Southwick said. “We have pretty close to 100 members.”
The Club’s website explains that the private, member-owned riding club fosters “responsible horse ownership” and creates “positive experiences that build on the horse-to human partnership.” They sponsor group rides, training clinics, rodeos, 4-H and other youth programs. They also participate in local parades and festivals.
“We are primarily a volunteer club, so everything that goes into it are (through) the members,” Southwick said. “It’s the blood sweat and tears of the volunteers.”
Southwick said Friday’s rodeo was successful, with around 1,000 in attendance. “The weather was perfect, and no mosquitoes,” she said.
Walls said some of the winners from this weekend may qualify for “the big granddaddy of professional rodeos,” the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas this December.
Guests also enjoyed the “World Famous Chicken Chase,” where children from toddlers to up to 10 years old captured loose chickens in the arena for prizes.
Walls said the rodeo started at 7:30 p.m., just as the sun sets behind the mountain for a cool arena.
“Then you’re sitting out there in that beautiful night air,” Walls said. “You’re among a lot of other people, and just enjoying the great show.”
“We want to entertain everybody,” Walls said. “We want to continue to get people to really enjoy and love and appreciate this western tradition we call rodeo.”
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