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Rodeo Week Ropes ‘Em In
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Sunday, April 14 saw another big crowd on hand to enjoy the annual PRCA Oakdale Rodeo, with the Grand Entry signaling the official start of the second full day of competition in the rodeo arena.

There wasn’t a shortage of people – or activities – in Oakdale over the past week, as the annual PRCA Rodeo came to town.

From the businessman’s roping to the Queen coronation, the parade to the competition and the always sold-out Cowgirl Luncheon, the week was packed with events.

At the rodeo itself, people enjoyed not only the competition in the arena but the chance to peruse the various booths, eat some food served up by multiple vendors, including the Orange Blossom 4-H, and cheer for their favorite cowboys and cowgirls.

Kellie Kearnes said the 4-H group has had a food shack at the grounds since 1972 and it serves as one of their biggest fundraisers of the year.

Parents Morgan and Josie Fawver were in town from Sacramento with their children Levi, 4, and Lacy, 2, to enjoy the rodeo.

“We’ve been before, but he never has,” mom Josie said of son Levi, who was decked out in boots and cowboy hat.

Levi was looking over some of the stock to be used in the competition.

“They already know how tough I am,” he said.

William and Nell Cook are fairly new to Oakdale but have attended rodeos before, though this was their first time attending the one here.

“This ain’t my first rodeo,” William quipped.

Nell noted that they attended both Saturday and Sunday, enjoying both days of the competition.

With announcer Jody Carper keeping fans in the arena informed of the action, he also urged them to join the battle for loudest fan – which 11-year-old Samantha Bates was doing her best to win, enthusiastically cheering for each entrant.

“I love watching the bull riding and the barrel racing, because I do barrel racing,” the Cloverland Elementary sixth grader said, adding that she hopes one day to compete in the event at the rodeo grounds herself.

Unlike the past couple of years, it was not a mud pit and no rain fell on the crowd or competitors. Both days featured plenty of sunshine and a bit of a breeze, with parade Grand Marshal, Oakdale Mayor J.R. McCarty noted as one of the dignitaries in the crowd on hand for the arena festivities.

“There was a definite increase in the number of parade entries this year. When I drove through town Saturday at 7 a.m., it was very evident that people had started to stake their claim on the sidewalks,” said Bambi Porter, publicity director for the rodeo. “We love that the Lions Club lines the streets with the American flags. We heard from many parade goers that this year’s parade was fantastic.”

Porter added that the stands at the arena were full for both days and many people also attended Cowboy Church, with Coy Huffman, on Sunday morning.

“It’s great to see so many families that have long made this rodeo a family tradition,” Porter said. “We had visitors from across the pond, England, Paris and Germany. We could not have done it without the support of all of our Saddle Club members, sponsors, vendors and of course the cowboys.”

Forgetting her sunscreen, Modesto resident Belinda Nicolodi decided it was best to purchase a new hat and she had plenty to choose from at one of the western vendors setting up shop at the Oakdale Saddle Club rodeo grounds for the weekend.