Spills, Thrills & Chills

Decked-out cowboys and gussied-up cowgirls, representing all skill levels, will converge at the Bohna Arena (off Raymond Road - 415) this weekend to compete for cash prizes at the Coarsegold Rodeo.

So squeeze into those Wranglers, pull on those western boots, and amble on over ... it’s jaw-dropping rodeo action at its best, making for some good ol’ family entertainment.

The rodeo has wowed crowds over many decades, and this year - the 64th annual - is guaranteed to provide plenty of thrills and spills.

Those attending will immediately notice a modernizing facelift, thanks to new rodeo ground owners, the Tweeds. Large shaved logs with a metal bucking horse on top will greet all those who enter the gate. Booths have been refaced to resemble an Old Western town, complete with a church, jail, U.S. Marshals office, hardware and dry goods stores, and hotel. To quench their thirst, dusty cowboys and cowgirls can mosey up to the beer bar, now the Broken Bit Saloon.

“The Tweeds have been very generous, and are so wonderful to work with,” said Pat Strimling, Coarsegold Rodeo Association board member. “They donated for the Queen’s contest, and we didn’t even have to rent the rodeo grounds this year.”

“We bought the Victoria Square in Oakhurst, and the old Broken Bit Restaurant in Coarsegold,” Kevin Tweed said. “I came to the rodeo last year, and thought it felt like Mayberry, so we bought the rodeo grounds, too. We’re trying to create a venue similar to what it was in its heyday.”

Jill Satterfield, president of the Coarsegold Rodeo Association board of directors, encourages the community to attend one of the oldest events in Eastern Madera County.

“This is a great family event - children love seeing real cowboys and cowgirls up close and seeing the exciting events like barrel racing, team roping, bareback riding, steer wrestling, and bull riding,” Satterfield said.

At 9 a.m. Friday, April 29, more than 500 Mountain Area school children will attend Heritage Days, making crafts, enjoying hands-on activities, and witnessing a variety of rodeo demonstrations including barrel racing, pole bending, and a horse parade. Every student who attends Heritage Days will receive a ticket for free entry to the rodeo on Saturday or Sunday with a paid adult.

Friday night, the Rodeo Royalty contestants will be interviewed by judges during the rodeo dinner at the Coarsegold Community Center. The dinner gets underway at 6 p.m., and tickets cost $15 at the door.

Exceptional Kids Rodeo 10:30 a.m. Saturday - pro rodeo 1:30 p.m.

Saturday begins at 10:30 a.m. with the “Exceptional Kids Rodeo.” Kevin Lockwood is chairman for the event that will include a bucking barrel, stick-horse races, and roping. More than 25 children are expected to participate in the event and each child will receive a medal, provided by Coarsegold Car Care and Graydon Kennels.

The Pro Rodeo starts at 1:30 p.m. In between rodeo events, the free “Cutest Rodeo Clown” contest will be held for children up to 7 years old. Always a crowd favorite, the children’s “Mutton Bustin” contest will also be held during a break in the rodeo events. Both events for children are expected to take place between 2 and 3 p.m.

Saturday’s Rodeo Dance will be held ‘under the stars’ 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. with music provided by DJ Cowboy Jeff Mann. Dance tickets cost $5 at the door. The Yosemite High School football program will receive a donation for cleaning up during and after the event.

Sunday Cowboy Breakfast/Church

Sunday starts with the Cowboy Breakfast at 8 a.m., followed by Cowboy Church at 9 with famous rodeo clown Wilber Plaugher. Both events are sponsored by the Yosemite Lakes Community Church.

The breakfast, consisting of pancakes and/or biscuits and gravy, costs $5 per person. All proceeds go to YLCC’s Kids in Christ Ministry to help send youth to summer camp.

Sunday’s Grand Entry, beginning at noon, honors Grand Marshals Dennis and Kathy Creighton, and features the crowning of the 2016 Coarsegold Rodeo Queen and her royalty. Once again, the Pro Rodeo begins at 1:30, along with round two of Mutton Bustin’.

Food vendors include Supernaw’s Bar-B-Q, Yosemite Gateway Restaurant, Indian Tacos, and 4-H snow cones.

Rodeo tickets

Tickets at the gate are $12 for adults and $5 for children 5-12 years of age. Parking is $2 with 75% of proceeds benefiting Minarets High basketball.

With the goal of taking the Coarsegold Rodeo to the next level, the Tweeds not only hope to attract the Pro-Rodeo circuit (like the Clovis Rodeo) to the arena in September, but to hold weekly events.

Giddyup. See y’all there.