Time to saddle up: the long wait is finally over.
After being forced to cancel the annual Oakdale Rodeo in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, officials with the Oakdale Saddle Club were determined not to miss out in 2021.
Traditionally staged in April, the state had not yet opened back up for in-person events at that time, but organizers stayed informed of the loosening restrictions and set their sights on August.
That means that, this weekend, the PRCA Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo will return for competition on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 14 and 15 at the rodeo grounds on East F Street. This marks the return of the event after a 16-month absence.
Along with the formal arena competition, there are several related events occurring during the week, among them the always-sold-out-in-advance Cowgirl Luncheon.
On Thursday, Aug. 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce hosts its fun and fundraising ‘Arrest Round-Up’ event. Proceeds benefit local scholarships and the posse heads out looking to round up those with outstanding ‘warrants’ placed on them by friends, family or co-workers. Members of the Oakdale Chamber Foundation make up the posse and those ‘arrested’ stand trial at the H-B Saloon and then have to raise money to pay their fine. The fines typically range from $30 to $100 and those arrested can contact people to raise the cash, which in turn helps provide scholarships.
Thursday evening will feature the Queen Coronation ceremony at the Oakdale Cowboy Museum on East F Street, with festivities beginning at 6 p.m.
There is no admission fee for the coronation.
At the rodeo grounds, Friday, Aug. 13 will begin with the barrel racing slack at 8 a.m. and the rodeo dance is on the schedule for 7 p.m. Friday night. The dance is a 21 and over event only; tickets ($10) will be sold only at the door, with the dance hosted at the clubhouse on the rodeo grounds.
Timed event slack begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, with a $5 admission fee and the morning competition will include team roping, tie down roping and steer wrestling.
Downtown will come alive with the Oakdale Rodeo Parade starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, as multiple floats and groups begin the route near Oakdale High School and wind their way eastward on F Street to the Foothill Oaks Shopping Center, dispersing in the Save Mart parking lot. Named as Grand Marshals for this year’s parade were Harry and Margo Cummins, who will have a seat of honor.
Due to moving the rodeo to the heat of summer, Saddle Club officials opted to change the time for Saturday’s competition. For the first time in its history, the rodeo will be in the evening, as the Grand Entry will be at 5:30 p.m., followed by the PRCA events. Pre-sale tickets for rodeo – for attendance at either Saturday or Sunday – are $15; admission on the day of the event is $20.
On Sunday, the rodeo returns to a more normal time frame, with the popular Cowboy Church being offered in the clubhouse at 10 a.m., open to all free of charge. Coy Huffman presents the service, and this is an opportunity to attend church with some of the world’s top cowboys.
The second PRCA rodeo performance will be on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 15 with the Grand Entry at 1:30 p.m.
A variety of events will take place throughout the course of the day as competitors look for individual and team event wins as well as the all-around title.
To get your tickets early and for information on where to purchase them, log onto the website at www.oakdalerodeo.com.