The red carpet has been rolled out and the town is abuzz, as Oakdale Saddle Club presents the 66th Annual Oakdale PRCA Rodeo. As the club prepares the rodeo grounds for a jam packed week of activity, it will also host first time visitor Christopher Rodriguez and his family.
The 16-year-old, an Oakdale High School junior, is the inaugural recipient of the Oakdale Saddle Club poster contest honors. Early this year, Christopher learned that his submission in the contest had been named the winner. It was an honor which came with a $500 prize, as well as being printed on over 200 posters for distribution to promote the rodeo, and a handful of VIP passes to the actual event.
“I like the red background,” the student said of the finished product, “and also my name is on it.”
Rodriguez’s submission was one of 30 entries submitted by OHS students, according to Saddle Club Events/Media/Promotions Chairperson Bambi Porter.
“We did have a couple of students enter more than one piece,” she said of the response for the club’s first time partnership with OHS. “It was pretty exciting; I didn’t expect that type of response.”
Porter shared that the initial submissions were reviewed by the Saddle Club board, which narrowed them down to the top five. The top five were then voted upon by the general Oakdale Saddle Club membership.
As a first time endeavor, Porter stated she was pleasantly surprised by the staff of Oakdale High School in making the process both easy and memorable, noting Tim Matthies as her chief middle man.
“He was our ‘go to’ guy,” she said. “The whole process was seamless. It really was a pleasure to work with the high school.”
Echoing Porter’s praises, Rodriguez pointed to art teacher Omar Salinas as an instrumental piece to his submission, explaining that the teacher often encourages students to stretch outside of their comfort zones.
“I’ve always like to test my limits and see if I could do something really good to submit for the contest,” he said.
Admittedly not a cowboy or rodeo attendee, the OHS junior looked to Google for images of bulls and bull riders to draw inspiration from.
“Right now I’ve been working with water color and I’m trying to progress with that,” Rodriguez stated. He added that he thought water color would offer something different for the rodeo poster from past years, which appeared to all be digitally done.
As for rodeo weekend, the parade and the festivities Oakdale is known for, the student shared he’s looking forward to partaking in the 66th annual tradition.
“I’ve never been so I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “The whole thing is fascinating. It’s exciting.”