UNION — Three years after rising from the ashes of a devastating fire, the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show is set to come out of the gate again.
The EOLS will open in June after the coronavirus pandemic led organizers to cancel the show in 2020.
“We are very excited to be back in the saddle again,” said EOLS Second Vice President Cassie Miller.
The EOLS will be able to restart because of falling COVID-19 rates in Union County. While scheduling details remain to be worked out, rodeo action is set to begin June 10 with the Ed Miller Xtreme Bull Riding event. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. and competition will start at 6:30 p.m.
Three days of PRCA rodeo will follow, with competition beginning at 4 p.m. June 11, 2 p.m. June 12 and 1:30 p.m. June 13.
The Eastern Oregon Livestock Show’s Main Street parade also is returning and starts at 2 p.m. June 11. Youth FFA and 4-H events will go on this year, but their schedules will be announced later.
Miller said she hopes to again hold horse racing, long a major part of the event. She said the EOLS is working with the Oregon Racing Commission in an attempt to add it to this year’s lineup.
Miller said the Oregon Health Authority played a big role in reviewing the livestock show. The OHA earlier modified its guidelines to allow outdoor events to operate at a percentage of their maximum occupancy. The county’s risk level at the time of an event determines the percent of occupancy. Risk levels change, and Miller said the EOLS may have to make changes to how the event is run in the days leading up to its start.
“The EOLS is aware of the possibility that guidelines may fluctuate between now and the first full week in June, and we are prepared to adjust the plan as needed to stay in compliance,” Miller said.
This will be the second comeback the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show has made since July 24, 2017, when a fire destroyed three racehorse barns and did other damage, but caused no injuries to people or animals. Despite the blaze, the show opened on time in June 2018 with all the damaged structures replaced.
“We have dealt with a lot of adversity during our 114-year history and always found a way to come back better,” Miller said.
Miller said the EOLS committee has been working closely with community partners to share ideas and create a plan that incorporates health and safety guidelines while promoting the stock show experience people enjoy.
“Every aspect of this year’s plan has been developed with the safety and well-being of our volunteers, fans and contestants in mind,” Miller said.
Tickets for this year’s Eastern Oregon Livestock Show will be available online via www.rodeoticket.com. The EOLS later will announce when tickets go on sale.