Come to the Rodeo! Sept. 9 and 10
Yippi Ki Yi Yahoo! The Rodeo and You!
September is coming fast! Labor Day, the start of school, and The Rodeo (this year, Sept.8 and 9) excitement of roping and riding, bucking bulls and mutton busters - great fun for the entire family. Our own Mountain Rodeo Association (MRA) is ready for another great weekend of high energy entertainment. We are lucky to have this world class club in our community.
Two years ago the community was not so lucky. The rodeo was cancelled due to fire, the Rough Fire. The MRA planned the rodeo, as always, for the beginning of September, and right up to the weekend they were going to ride, they hoped the Rough Fire would back off, get contained, stop threatening the foothill communities. No such luck. Pinehurst and parts of Dunlap were evacuated. Miramonte had their warning. The fire crews set up a small city in Squaw Valley, and the rodeo event, bit the dust.
The MRA didn’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves. This was an emergency situation and they stepped up and made a huge contribution to the evacuation effort. They opened their gates and took in large animals that needed to be evacuated and had no other place to go, then they did more. They trailered horses for people that had no transportation. They were allowed past roadblocks to get horses that owners had waited too long to evacuate. They found food and water buckets for horses that came without these necessities. They had volunteers that stayed on site to make sure the animals were well cared for and secure while the fire raged.
The Mountain Rodeo Association is celebrating their twenty-fifth year at this year’s rodeo. They are grateful to Kipers from whom they lease the land, and they own their arena, thanks to the generosity of the Gravance Family. They exist on sponsorships and entry fees. They have always been an organization focused on the community; donating to charities, giving out scholarships, and sponsoring multiple events besides two rodeos a year. They have a February kick-off event - a prime rib dinner and dance to which all are invited. During the summer they sponsor a playday every month for the whole family at which kids compete in non-horse events and take away ribbons and prizes. Each event costs $3.00 to enter. Parents watch for free. The last one is coming up in October at the rodeo grounds. Scholarships go to competition teams at Fresno State and to help fund the “royalty”. The MRA keeps with the old traditions of rodeo royalty, teaching confidence, reliability, and values to young girls. They donate to organizations such as “Make a Difference Outdoors”, “Heart of the Horse”, Reedley FFA, and the Central Valley Honor Flight. And they open their gates to take in horses during a fire.
The MRA reported that during the Rough Fire they were taken by surprise. They had begun to discuss a plan for emergency evacuations along with the CCAD, to make sure large animals would be safe in case of fire. They are able to house about 30 horses and a limited number of cattle. With the Rough Fire, everyone did what was needed at the moment, but having had the actual experience of a fire, they could enumerate several things that owners of large animals can do to make things go smoother. These include:
Know your neighbors! Do they have livestock and do you and they have an evacuation plan, places to take animals and transportation.How can you help each other.
Stay calm! Your panic or anxiety will transfer to your horse and create difficulties
ID your animals! Have a sharpie available to write your name and phone number on the horse’s hoof.
Have food, water buckets and medications ready to go with the horses and instructions if there are special needs.
Don’t wait until the last minute! If you have received an evacuation warning, that’s when you make sure all is ready and perhaps move the animals to a safe location so you don’t have to use the emergency shelter of the rodeo.
The MRA is happy to be a part of the emergency team. It is an important part of their mission to serve the community, and as a community organization, the foothill and mountain communities are lucky to have such a caring and involved organization in their midst. So, if you own large animals, be proactive, ready for that emergency we hope will never come. Then everyone, get ready for some fun, the rodeo is coming to town!
For more information, go to the Mountain Rodeo Association Website. Click here