Rodeo may be changing fast in many places of the world, but not in Coarsegold. Things are pretty much the same as theyve always been, and thats a thing of pride for Tom Bohna, whose family has owned and operated the rodeo for 59 years.
Theres not many rodeos like this left, Bohna said. Its a lot like the old-fashioned rodeos they used to have 50 to 60 years ago.
The 59th Annual Coarsegold Rodeo will open its gates at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Bohna Arena on Raymond Road (415) off Highway 41 in Coarsegold. Tradition and family have long been its cornerstone one of the few rodeos where you can still lay out a blanket on a grassy hill, or prop-up a lawn chair to enjoy the Pro Rodeo in a country atmosphere thats relaxed with not too much concrete.
Its a rodeo in the mountains, said Linda Sadler, Coarsegold Rodeo Association member. You sit in the seats and you see the whole Sierra.
You can probably let your kids run free and not worry about anything, said association member Pat Strimling.
And all of the profits stay here in the community, added association member Teri Gambril.
The nonprofit Coarsegold Rodeo Association, the group that helps run and operate the Coarsegold Rodeo, uses money raised from the rodeo to benefit youth 4-H, agriculture programs and schools throughout the Mountain Area.
Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children and teenagers ages 6 to 17. There will be no charge for children 5 and younger. Presale tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children and teens, available in Coarsegold at the Coarsegold Market and Yosemite Bank. Camping is not allowed. Coarsegold Rodeo sponsors include gold sponsor Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino; silver sponsors Bud Light, Sierra Telephone, 3 V Feed and Garden Supply Inc.; bronze sponsors Midland Tractor, Valley Transport Refrigeration, Sanctuary Rest and Ride, and the Coarsegold Community Center.
This years Pro Rodeo will include eight events:
Saddle bronc riding A rodeo classic, each rider begins with his feet over the broncs shoulders to give the horse the advantage. A rider who synchronizes his spurring action with the animals bucking receives a high score. Other scoring factors considered include the cowboys control, the length of his spurring stroke, and how hard the horse bucks.
A rider is disqualified if he touches the animal, himself or his equipment with his free hand prior to the first eight seconds; if either foot slips out of the stirrup; if he drops the bronc rein; if his feet arent in the proper position at the beginning of the ride; or if he bucks off.
Bareback riding A bareback rider begins with his feet placed above the break of the horses shoulder. During the eight second ride, cowboys are judged on their control, spurring technique and exposure to the strength of the horse. A rider is disqualified if he touches his equipment, himself or the animal with his free hand; if he bucks off; or if the riders feet are not in the proper position when the horse hits the ground on its first jump out of the chute.
Bull riding In bull riding, the rider tries to remain forward and is judged on body position and other factors, including how he uses his free arm and spurring action although spurring action is not required. Like all riding events, half of the score is determined by the riders performance and the other half by the animals efforts.
A rider is disqualified for touching the animal, himself or his equipment with his free hand, or bucking off.
Calf roping After a calf is given a head start (a ten second penalty is awarded if not) a horse and rider pursue it, roping the calf, then dismounting. If the calf is not standing, the cowboy must allow it to stand. After catching and flanking it, the cowboy ties any three of the calfs legs together and then remounts and allows the rope to go slack. The run is invalid if the calf kicks free within six seconds.
Steer wrestling A steer wrestler, or bull dogger pursues a steer that is given a head start (a 10-second penalty is awarded if the cowboy leaves too soon.) The steer wrestler is assisted by a hazer, another cowboy on horseback that helps keep the steer running in a straight line. The bull dogger catches the steer and must either stop it or change the direction of the animals body before the throw. The clock stops when the steer is on its side with all four legs pointing in the same direction.
Team roping Two cowboys work together to rope a steer. The first cowboy, the header, ropes the steer. After the catch, the header wraps his rope around the saddle horn and turns the steer in an arc to the left.
The second cowboy, the heeler, then moves behind the steer and attempts to rope the back feet. If he only ropes one foot, he receives a five-second penalty. The clock stops when both cowboys horses are facing each other.
Barrel racing A cowgirl and her horse enter the arena full speed, riding a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels, and then sprinting back out of the arena. The rider can touch or even move the barrels but receives a five second penalty for each that is overturned.
Breakaway Calves are moved one at a time through narrow runs leading to a chute with doors while horse and rider wait in a box beside it. After the chute is opened to give the calf a head start, the barrier is released, letting horse and rider out of the box to attempt to throw a lasso around the calfs neck. Once roped, the horse stops, and the rope is tied to the saddle horn with a string. When the calf hits the end of the rope, breaking the string, it marks the end of the run. The fastest run wins.