The Tweed family, owners of the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds, announced Thursday that a rodeo will take place on May 6 and 7, despite the Coarsegold Rodeo Association’s (CRA) recent statement it would not put on the annual event for the first time in 64 years.
“Even if my son Tanner and I have to be on horses to make sure this happens, there will be a rodeo in May in Coarsegold,” Kevin Tweed said by phone Thursday afternoon.
Tweed said leading up to the CRA’s announcement Jan. 30, it appeared likely the rodeo would not take place this year. He said he started putting out “feelers” weeks ago in preparation for such a possibility.
“Based on those calls we made, and a ton of calls from the public wanting to support the rodeo and help put it on, we decided to bite the bullet,” Tweed said. “We’re excited to do it.”
Tweed said Ted Dwyer and Chuck Morris of Rockin M Rodeo, key parts of the rodeo as its announcer and livestock contractor for years, have signed up for the event.
Another key figure, Tweed said, was Budweiser agreeing to be its primary sponsor. Those three, he said, as well as around 20 people who have signed on as volunteers to plan and put on the rodeo, were enough to help make the final decision.
“We’ve been trying to figure out if we have enough people and staff to do this, all in the last 12 hours,” Tweed said. “And the consensus is that we do.”
Tweed said at the Feb. 13 meeting for the upcoming Coarsegold Stampede - Madera County's first-ever professionally sanctioned rodeo put on last September - he would announce the decision for the May rodeo to see if more supporters will jump on board.
For details and to sign up, both as a volunteer or sponsor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m still amazed at what a great community Coarsegold and Oakhurst is,” Tweed said. “People just jumped right in to try and help in what we thought was a crisis situation. And this is all volunteer. Nobody’s getting paid, so people like this impress me in how they’re willing to take their time and energy, and get nothing in return.
“I love stuff like this,” Tweed continued. “This was certainly unexpected. But this rodeo is too important to the community, I think, to lose.”
It will be a furious three months to prepare, Tweed said. Morris will handle the contestants and animals while himself, son Tanner, and Chloe Ferguson will take care of sponsors, vendors, parking, and bringing on volunteers. Tanner and Ferguson will run the rodeo, Tweed said.
Tweed said it’d cost around $50,000 to put on the Coarsegold Rodeo. He said talks are underway with a few charities, and that it’s likely two will be chosen next week to benefit from the event.
A ‘new direction’
The Tweeds decided to step in after the Coarsegold Rodeo Association choose to move in a “new direction.”
On Jan. 30, after a board meeting the CRA announced it would not produce the rodeo, instead choosing to focus on a new venue to raise money for “grants and scholarships that it is committed to continuing to share which aligns with its mission statement.”
The organization donated over $4,550 to various schools and groups in 2016, the statement read, and the CRA was looking forward to getting more scholarships from its Country Festival in May at the Coarsegold Historic Village.
Details are being finalized, and those interested can call Pat Strimling at (559) 683-5149.
The Coarsegold Stampede is also scheduled to make its return on Sept. 16 and 17. Click here for its Facebook page with more details.