It was just last year when Oakdale Saddle Club invited all four Oakdale Elementary Schools to participate in the rich history of our western lifestyle and rodeo heritage of the “Cowboy Capital of the World” with the Rodeo Spirit Contest. The Oakdale Saddle Club is a strong supporter of the annual AG Days at Oakdale Elementary Schools where many club members volunteer to educate children about area ranching and the sport of rodeo.
Rodeo Spirit Day falls on the last school day before the Rodeo and each elementary school is offered a $50 prize and a certificate of rodeo spirit for the class at each site with the most rodeo spirit. The winning class is chosen by the school administration at that site and receives the award and $50 prize to spend any way they see fit. But it doesn’t stop there, each school is asked to choose two students, one cowboy and one cowgirl, who shows the most rodeo spirit. Those students will receive a Spirit Award Certificate and a gift certificate for an ice cream, again, chosen by the school administration.
Rodeo Spirit day organizers and Oakdale Saddle Club members, Shauna Rico and Judy Clark judged the friendly competition at Magnolia Elementary School and reported that they had 52 percent of all the students dress western on Thursday, April 5.
“We actually had ties for the cowboy and cowgirl competition. We had to get two more award certificates and gift cards prizes because it was hard to decide,” said Rico.
Cloverland Elementary School Principal Larry Bonds helped judge by touring the Miss Rodeo Oakdale contestants around the campus to inspect the Spirit Day participants. Mrs. Carmelich’s Class won the Most spirit there. Grant Wilson and Bayleigh Oliver were the most spirited Cowboy and Cowgirl at Cloverland.
Mrs. Kraus’s Class took the All Around prize at Sierra View Elementary School. Mrs. Moore’s Class would not be outdone when substitute teacher Mrs. Thompson raised the stakes and showed up dressed as a Rodeo Clown. Jazmine Shryock won for most spirited Cowgirl and Chandler Carstensen for most spirited Cowboy at Sierra View.
“Our school really enjoyed this Spirit Day! I would like to thank the Oakdale Saddle Club for all that they do to support the schools. It is very much appreciated,” said Principal David Kindred.
The Rodeo Spirit Day was the brainchild of Oakdale Saddle Club director Kevin Fox, who put up the prize with a private donation and that was quickly matched by then Club President Ed Viohl.
“The first year was a success, this year was outstanding!” said Fox. “I think we’ve started a new tradition and that’s kind of the foundation of the Oakdale Rodeo and the sport itself.”
The Oakdale Saddle Club now donates the prize money to the schools. The fun program is organized at the schools mostly by the Ag Day committees and the many Saddle Club members who are educators.