The Coarsegold Rodeo has been entertaining families since 1952, and this year proves to be more of the same, holding the promise of nail-biting moments, intermingled with awestruck "guffaws." The three-day rodeo will be held May 2-4 at the Bohna Arena on Raymond Road (415) a venue known as much for its beautiful views as it is for the top-quality of athletes that compete there.
The event will begin 9 a.m., Friday, May 2, with Heritage Days for area school children to join in the fun, making crafts and enjoying a variety of riding demonstrations. At 1:30 p.m., the rodeo royalty hopefuls will be introduced, and at 6 p.m., the contestants will be interviewed by judges during the rodeo dinner at the Coarsegold Community Center.
The gates will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 3, and 8 a.m. on Sunday, 4, for two full days of rodeo action. On Saturday, the Exceptional Kids Rodeo begins at 11 a.m., followed by the California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association Rodeo competition.
The popular children's Mutton Bustin' event returns both days in between the Pro Rodeo events.
There will be plenty of food on-hand, including barbecued tri-tip sandwiches, hot dogs, Indian tacos, cotton candy and snow cones provided by, and benefiting, the Coarsegold 4-H Club.
"Dance Under the Stars" will be held 8 - 11 p.m. Saturday at Bohna Arena with Terry Naracon, from TC Tunes, who will provide Country Western and Southern Rock hits. The cover charge is $5.
The rodeo resumes on Sunday, May 4, at 8 a.m., with the Cowboy Breakfast, from 8-11 a.m, hosted by the Yosemite Lakes Community Church's Kids In Christ (KIC) group. Cost is $5 per person for choice of pancake platter with sausage and fruit or a large breakfast burrito.
The Cowboy Church Service, featuring Clifton Jansky, will be held at 9 a.m.
The Grand Entry, featuring Rodeo Grand Marshals siblings Katrina Sack-Templeton, Jana Sack, and Tom Sack (posthumously), along with the crowning of the rodeo royalty by 2013 Rodeo Queen Brionna VanAh, is at noon prior to the 1 p.m. start of the rodeo.
The non-profit Coarsegold Rodeo Association, the group that helps organize and operate the rodeo, uses money raised from the rodeo to benefit youth groups including 4-H, FFA, agriculture programs and schools throughout the Mountain Area. In addition, other organizations and clubs financially benefit from the rodeo through food and providing services. The Minarets basketball team will receive 75% of the parking funds, and the Coarsegold Community Center will run the beer booth. The Yosemite High football program receives a donation for cleaning-up after the event.
Pro Rodeo includes eight exciting events
Saddle bronc riding: A rodeo classic, each rider begins with his feet over the bronc's shoulders to give the horse the advantage. A rider who synchronizes his spurring action with the animal's bucking receives a high score. Other scoring factors considered include the cowboy's control, the length of his spurring stroke, and how hard the horse bucks.
Bareback riding: A bareback rider begins with his feet placed above the break of the horse's 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 rider's 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 rider's performance and the other half by the animal's 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 calf's 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 the box 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 animal's 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 horns. 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 calf's 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.
Tickets are $12 for adults (or $10 in advance) and $5 for children aged 5 through 12. There will be no charge for children 5 and younger. Parking is $2.