It comes as no surprise but stings nonetheless. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and the Oakdale Saddle Club have formally decided not to have the annual rodeo in 2020. Originally scheduled for April of 2020, COVID-19 prevented the annual event from saddling up on its traditional second weekend in April.
“It was a tough decision, one that we tried very hard to find an alternate way to prevent,” said Oakdale Saddle Club Director Les Porter. “It’s uncharted territory, a situation that we have never faced before. We really did do everything in our power to try and reschedule it for later this year but scheduling and the uncertainty of COVID-19 and our government’s mandated guidelines would not allow it.”
Porter is a third generation Oakdale Saddle Club member. He has been a member for 21 years and has been a director for six years. Porter’s wife, Bambi Porter, serves as the Oakdale Saddle Club media relations director.
Bambi added: “There is absolutely no doubt that the Oakdale Saddle Club loves the community and cares a great deal about it. We appreciate the support and well wishes that our community has shown during the difficult situation that took place earlier this spring. We want to thank our rodeo fans as well. We will be back in 2021 and I believe it will be our best one yet.”
The rodeo brings in thousands of tourists throughout the week of the event with everything from a Cowgirl Luncheon to Queen Coronation, slack events and a parade before the two weekend afternoons of competition. That left a huge void economically in town, with the ripples felt far and wide.
“I was heartbroken for the Oakdale Saddle Club. It is the largest annual event in our town and everyone felt the financial hit from its absence this year,” said Oakdale Mayor J.R. McCarty. “Hotels, restaurants, bars and retailers alike felt it. I wish the Oakdale Saddle Club well and I am looking forward to next year’s event.”
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