In a historic first, the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds will come alive with the first-ever Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo held in Madera County Sept. 17 and 18.
Sanctioned by the PRCA, the largest and oldest pro rodeo organization in the world, organizers say the Coarsegold Stampede could become a moneymaker for the entire Mountain Area.
“If this is a success, it could really change things with big time sponsors and big time performers,” said Tanner Tweed, son of rodeo grounds owner Kevin Tweed. “We’re hoping to see thousands of people up here each day, and everyone, from nearby Coarsegold businesses to Oakhurst, even Yosemite, could see a spike in business from this event. We’re hoping to add another event that Coarsegold can prosper from and be known for.”
And the Stampede is guaranteed to be a new experience, even for those familiar with Coarsegold Rodeo, held each May since 1952.
“A minor league baseball pitcher throws 86 miles an hour, while a Major League Baseball pitcher throws 102,” Tweed explained. “We’re throwing 102. People are definitely going to see the difference.”
“It’s going to be so much different,” added Ryan Odishoo, music director and one of several volunteers helping prepare the grounds. “It’s absolutely two different worlds of competition.”
Alongside pro bull or bronc riders and ropers taking on high-caliber stock animals, the grounds have also been upgraded with new pens, chutes, and other equipment to add to a truly high-quality experience, Tweed said.
For children, a large petting zoo has been added to the grounds, alongside face painting, and mutton busting.
“Kids will not be bored here,” Tweed said. “We’re keeping them entertained the whole time. We want this to be a family friendly event and a great way to spend the weekend.”
Some 50 to 60 vendors will provide food, crafts, and other items to guests.
Bringing a PRCA rodeo to Coarsegold started when Wes Ibrahimi, a stock bull contractor and owner of Raymond business Humpz N Hornz approached his father with the idea, Tweed said. From there, Alex Hauser of Hauser Bucking Bulls in Menifee joined in to form All In Pro Rodeos, which will produce several PRCA rodeos at other locations.
At that point, a committee of around 20 Coarsegold community members - who meet weekly - volunteered their time and other resources and, in a short three months, the Stampede will be ready to excite guests and energize area businesses.
“It’s taken an immense amount of work and we couldn’t be more grateful,” Tweed said.
The rodeo isn’t meant to be profitable for his family either, Tweed said. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Infant of Prague Adoption Services, who helped he, as well as his brother and sister, be adopted by the Tweeds.
“We’re big on adoption,” Tanner said with a smile. “We talked to (Infant of Prague) and they’re definitely up for it. Charity is a big part of this and a lot of other rodeos, and we couldn’t be prouder to do it.”
Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate for adults and $5 for kids with children 2-and-under free.
Additional vendors and sponsors are welcome at the event, with contact information and more details on the rodeo available by visiting the Coarsegold Stampede Facebook page, its event page, or coarsegoldstampede.com.
A shaded VIP area with the best view of the rodeo, including all-you-can-eat Supernaw’s BBQ and all-you-can-drink at a private bar, is available and will be included for sponsors or those who purchase a ticket. Contestants in the rodeo will also mingle with VIP guests in that area.