The 70th annual Stonyford Rodeo is set to kick off at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. This is a professional event that draws in circuit-riding cowboys from San Antonio to Seattle, and points in between. Stonyford, with a stated population of 250, may be the smallest town to host a PRCA event. Elizabeth, Colorado, for which the PRCA awarded a plaque for “Smallest Rodeo of the Year.” With its 1400 people, Elizabeth is a virtual metropolis. At seventy years, Stonyford is far from being the oldest continuous rodeo, since Payson, Arizona, has that honor at 128 years. However, seventy is a respectable number.
Stonyford had it first rodeo, an amateur outing, in 1939. It proved to be so popular that the Stony Creek Horsemen’s Association was formed in 1943 to manage it as an annual affair. In 1945, it took on a professional tone when it came under the auspices of the California Cowboy Association (CCA). It became a PRCA event in 1976.
In 1948 the rodeo moved to his present location. A fire in 1950 burned it to the ground, along with most of the other buildings in town. But it was rebuilt. Fire, however, visited the rodeo again in 1960. Rebuilt again in 1961, fires have stayed away and the grounds have undergone continuous improvements, most of which depended on volunteer labor by Stony Creek Horsemen members, with some help from the larger community. This year, improvements include a new chute and roping box at the arena’s south end. These improvements will greatly enhance the steer wrestling, tie-down roping, and calf roping events.
Tickets this year can be purchased over the Internet. They can also be purchased at several area businesses, and at the gate. Please visit us at www.stonycreekhorsemen.org for ticket information and to stay current on rodeo happenings.