Rodeo prep in Oakdale takes on all forms from within different factions in the community but when the second week of April hits the calendar, law enforcement has always kept a wary eye on what the weather is planning to do.
Because when it’s warm outside the incidents of unruly behavior seem to rise with the temperature.
“Once it starts raining it tends to slow the drinking down,” Lt. Lester Jenkins of the Oakdale Police Department said of the correlation between rowdy behavior and the weather.
Rodeo weekend started out with balmy temperatures but by Sunday, the rain had rolled in, giving the events a muddy ending.
Police had saturation patrol in effect to handle the influx of people and California Highway Patrol lent some officers to help keep people obeying the letter of the law while enjoying their weekend of belts, buckles and broncs.
Saturday was the busiest night, with several fights, said police chief Marty West. However, there were only three DUI arrests over the entire weekend, only six drunk in public arrests, and two assaults.
“It was busy but a relatively mild weekend,” West said. “It was outstanding.”
One problem seemed to be with minors and adults sneaking alcohol onto the rodeo grounds but overall, it was a good event.
“It was definitely busier than last year but not more so than two years ago when the temperatures were in the high 80s. That year there were more DUIs and more problems,” West shared.
Over the rodeo weekend, there was also an ABC (Alcohol and Beverage Control) licensing operation happening. Two local businesses were temporarily shut down due to apparent licensing issues that were eventually resolved.
As usual, the ever-popular H-B Saloon had people waiting to get in with a line around the building but for the most part, people were obeying the rules and just having a good time.
Due to the need for additional support, the Oakdale Saddle Club paid $1,300 for the cost of two officers for two days, an administrative sergeant and a reserve officer, to ease the burden placed on the police department for this special event.
To that end, every available officer and volunteer are always put into service rodeo weekend, from CAPS (Citizens Auxiliary Police Services) to Explorers and there are no time off requests honored during this time.
While the actual rodeo seems as if it would be biggest drain on the department, West shared that it is the Saturday morning parade that stretches resources.
“It’s the biggest event of the year, very labor-intensive. But it’s part of the fabric of Oakdale’s heritage,” West said. “And it went very well.”