For the past several years, the Crooked River Roundup has been slowly adding new events.
This year is more of the same. Along with the usual rodeo events of tie-down roping, steer wrestling, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding, contestants will also compete in steer roping during slack performances.
In addition, the Roundup has recently added ranch bronc riding, wild horse races, wild cow milking and breakaway roping.
This year, the rodeo is adding junior bull riding to the mix.
"We are going to have all of the same events except we are going to bring some junior bulls in, and we are going to buck seven to eight kids each night," Crooked River Roundup Board President Jason Snider said. "We will give them a chance to get on in front of the crowds and keep them motivated."
The Crooked River Roundup has been getting national attention in the last couple of years, earning the medium rodeo of the year award in 2018.
The rodeo has become an innovator, not only adding more events, but adding excitement by pushing steers out of the chutes with a hazer so that they are moving faster as the timed events start.
Last year that led to some wild steer wrestling with cowboys leaping from their horses at a full gallop far down the arena.
Expect more of the same this year.
"Every head of stock will get a push," Snider said.
However, organizers also have some big changes in the works.
This year for the first time, there will be a large electronic screen broadcasting events, both live and on replay, across the arena from the main bleacher area.
"A new addition on the outside of the arena will be a video board," Snider said. "We are going to be able to give people close ups of a lot of things. It's something that will bring the rough stock folks a little closer via video."
The second big change is that saddle bronc riding is being featured in a big way this year.
The event has been renamed the Orville Yancey Featured Event in honor of one of the Roundup's founders. The event will have $10,000 of added money, making it one of the highest paying saddle bronc riding events in the entire country during the month of June.
Event organizers believe that will attract many of the top riders in the world.
"When you get into a $10,000 feature, it makes the PRCA go to the top of the standings, and it creates a different entry system," Snider said. "So, the reality is that the majority of the top bronc riders in the world have the opportunity to be here, so it should be some pretty good saddle bronc riding. It's going to be pretty wolfy to quote guys like Joe Hopper."
Not only is the saddle bronc riding expected to be exciting, Snider noted that they expect to have as many as 12 to 13 riders nightly in all of the rough stock events.
Adding to the interest, there are 20 more barrel racers entered this year than there were a year ago.
That means that there is going to be plenty of excitement, regardless of what your favorite rodeo event is.
This year's Roundup starts with slack Thursday morning beginning at 11 a.m. There will also be slack performances at 11 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The rodeo proper will run all three evenings, beginning at 7 p.m.
Slack performances are free of charge, while the gates open at 6 p.m. nightly for the evening performances.
Thursday is kids night with general admission tickets costing just $12, while children 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.
Friday is patriot's night with adult admission costing $15, while children four through 12 years of age are $10. Saturday night is Can Cancer night with adult tickets costing $18.
Box seats are also available for all three performances for $20 per night.
Tickets are available online at crookedriverroundup.com or at WW Western Wear and Fair Feed & Supply. Tickets will also be available at the gate.
"Presales are gaining momentum," Snider said. "It's like everybody is a procrastinator these days, but we have gotten some traction on ticket sales. As we get closer and closer, things are starting to gain momentum and the excitement — the buzz —starts to happen."
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