It was just last year that Kathy Creighton was voted to the Coarsegold Rodeo Association board, and so it came as quite a surprise during a recent meeting when she and her husband of 23 years, Dennis, were nominated as this year’s Grand Marshals.
Board member Pat Strimling has known Kathy for more than 30 years, and Dennis since 1993.
“They’ve been helping with the rodeo for quite a few years now,” Strimling said. “They own and live on property in front of the rodeo grounds, and this was a good choice. It’s their time.”
Ever since the couple moved to the Coarsegold property in 2002, it was a given they would become involved with the annual rodeo. They first served on the rodeo committee, and Kathy now as a board member.
Both Dennis and Kathy, 74 and 69 respectively, have helped out on work parties prior to and during the rodeo, Dennis with his tractor and Kathy in the ticket booth. This year Kathy is in charge of the mutton busting event (where children ride sheep as long as possible) - a perfect fit for the retired early childhood educator who loves being around kids.
Kathy grew up in the Bay Area near Stanford University. She raised her two daughters on her former husband’s family cattle ranch in Bear Valley, Mariposa County. She was a volunteer at the county library summer reading program, helped out in PTA and in her daughters’ classrooms, and later worked as a teacher’s aide at Mariposa Elementary School. Both daughters graduated from Mariposa County High School.
Kathy and her girls spent many years riding horses and ponies in gymkhanas (an equestrian event consisting of speed pattern racing and timed games for riders on horses), and both girls have shown horses and cattle at the county fair.
Married in 1993, Dennis and Kathy spent the early years of their marriage participating in penning events. They then joined American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), spending the next 15 years showing horses in western pleasure, showmanship, reining, and ranch riding. During those years, they qualified for and showed their horses six times at the AQHA Select World Show in Amarillo, Texas.
Their blended family consists of eight grown children, 23 grandchildren, and numerous great grandchildren. Unfortunately, due to logistics, most will not be able to attend the rodeo.
Now down to two horses, Kind and Biz, the Creightons plan to visit family, which are spread between Klamath Falls, Oregon to Victorville.
Dennis, retired from his electrical contracting business (D.C. Electric), spends his free time golfing with the River Creek Men’s Club. Both he and Kathy are active members of the Oakhurst Sierra Sunrise Rotary Club (Dennis as past president and Kathy as current secretary).
They are also active in the Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church, and Kathy is a member of the local chapter of the Philanthropic Educational Organization.
Both are looking forward to serving as this year’s Grand Marshals, but more importantly to catching up with old friends, and observing thrilling events just a hop, skip, and a quad away.
“My favorite part of the rodeo is watching the bull riding, and Cowboy Church on Sunday morning,” Kathy said. “It’s kind of fun having the whole thing next door ... feeling all the excitement on the rodeo grounds ... and just hopping on our quad and we’re there.”
For Dennis, it’s the bareback bronc riding.
“It’s difficult to ride bucking horses,” he said. “I understand the skills it takes because of all the years I’ve worked with horses.”
The 64th Coarsegold Rodeo will be held April 29 - May 1 at the Bohna Arena.
The event is put on by the Coarsegold Rodeo Association, a nonprofit that has handled the rodeo for the past decade.