“True cowboys are there to watch the rodeo, not get rowdy.”
Oakdale Saddle Club President Bill Jones’ statement pretty much sums up the belief held by many as the underlying sentiment applied to the Oakdale Rodeo.
It’s not about trolling the grounds for trouble; it’s about watching rodeo professionals do what they do best out in the arena.
And that’s what happened this year at the annual Oakdale Rodeo.
With violent incidents down and general raucous behavior down as well, this year’s rodeo was a well-oiled machine of collaboration between the City of Oakdale and the Saddle Club that yielded promising results for the future.
“I can’t say enough good things about the City of Oakdale,” Jones said. “They really backed us up this year. We worked together better and we’ve got something good going. Overall, it was a good collaboration.”
There were several initiatives the Saddle Club put into place that seemed to be effective at keeping everything moving along at a nice, orderly clip, one of which included having a constant law enforcement presence on the grounds.
“We had two mounted patrol from Oakdale Police Department and two mounted patrol from Sacramento. It makes a big difference and makes people feel more safe at the rodeo. Oakdale Police (Department) was great with this year helping us. Everything we asked that they could help us with, they did. The mounted patrol and the security helped control any rowdiness,” Jones said.
With close to 6,000 people passing through the gates each day, the fact that there were minimal skirmishes, is a testament to the fact that the security was on their toes.
“We really didn’t have that many issues arise,” Jones said. “Anytime you get that many people in one place you have the potential for issues, but our track record has been great because we make sure to have enough security. When something comes up, they knock it down fast.”
And, in spite of sloppy conditions, there was enough action in the arena to keep the crowd cheering and hollering.
“The crowd loved it,” Jones said of the mud created by the last-minute storms just prior to festivities on Friday. “But the competitors were doing good for the conditions they were working in. The team roping and roping events were still turning in halfway decent times for the conditions. Anytime you compete in the mud, it’s not something you want to do but there’s rodeos around the country and you have to perform in all conditions.”
Saturday’s dance sold 500 tickets and many people arrived and left by cab, which was something the Saddle Club encouraged.
“We worked with KAT Country 103 and did a live broadcast on drinking and driving to try and make people aware of the dangers of drinking and driving,” Jones said. “And we called people cabs if they needed them.”
With so many people flooding the town, the community benefits from the influx as they often stay in hotels, pay for groceries, eat out, buy gas, thus infusing the town with much-needed income.
“It’s all-around good for everyone in the town,” Jones said. “Even though it’s one time a year, there are a lot of businesses who make their money on that weekend that helps them through the year.”
The Oakdale Chamber of Commerce sent out 400 coupon packets for the participants of the Rodeo, featuring coupons from various businesses, such as Yogurt Station, Design House, Haidlen Ford, House of Beef and Spec Ops Live Play.
Although feedback is still coming in regarding the success of the packets, response was favorable.
“Regardless of the turn-out I think the coupons are a great idea and should be done again next year,” Erich Haidlen, Haidlen Ford Vice President said.
“Everyone did their part, and everyone did good,” Jones said. “Our rodeo fans are great; they support us and the rodeo.”