Though it’s only entering its third year, the Grande Ronde Rodeo has already gained a positive reputation, and there is a lot of excitement ahead as the rodeo takes to La Grande’s Mavericks Arena Saturday and Sunday.
“A bunch of folks have stepped up to be a part of the committee and put the show on,” said Bonnie Rasmussen, an advisory board member for the rodeo. “It takes a lot of moving parts to make it happen. The other thing that is really starting to show success is the sponsor level. There are a lot of folks stepping up and becoming part of the show as a sponsor. I really feel like the community is becoming aware of the show, and the attendance will show that this year.”
Rasmussen, who co-owns the rodeo’s stock provider — Tri-State Rodeo Company — played a vital role in bringing the rodeo to La Grande when it kicked off in 2017. She said the rodeo is working to “get the community engaged and make rodeo fun again,” pointing to that as an original goal.
GRR has events that cater to all ages in seeking to meet that goal, including for younger fans and participants.
“We have everything from stick horse races to bucking ponies and bucking steers,” she said, adding that a VIP tent will also be among the first-time amenities at this year’s event.
And there’s plenty at the Idaho Cowboys Association rodeo for those seeking to take home some cash.
“We’ll end up paying out close to $30,000 this weekend,” said Heather Paradis, GRR rodeo secretary and ICA committee director.
She said the rodeo has already earned a place among the top five ICA events of the year.
“It’s definitely going in a very positive direction. It’s one of our larger rodeos for being one of our newer (ones),” Paradis said.
She noted that as of Tuesday there were about 187 entries in the two days of ICA competition, plus more than 70 entries in local events such as local team roping and barrel racing.
“It’s about location. It’s about the stock. They definitely have done enough to get a good reputation behind this one,” she said of the high number of entries.
The two-day event kicks off at 6 p.m. Saturday with youth competitions followed by the ICA rodeo at 7 p.m. On Sunday, cowboys and cowgirls will compete in the 1 p.m. ICA rodeo.