July 19, 2012 |

Rodeo, Jubilee report high turnouts

By BECKY THOMAS

Staff Reporter

Event organizers say this past weekend, which drew thousands of people to Cheney for the Cheney Rodeo and Cheney Jubilee, was a success.

Jubilee president Tom Davis said the second annual event was bigger than last year, bringing more than 3,000 people to the Cheney Plaza parking lot Saturday and Sunday for live music, vendors, kids' games and barbecue competition.

Cheney Events Association secretary Rick Edwards said the 45th annual Cheney Rodeo went smoothly. The 200 additional seats that came with new bleachers were put to good use as the rodeo crowd neared standing-room-only Saturday night.

As was predicted due to a record high purse of $54,750, the Cheney Rodeo had a great turnout of competitors. In seven events, 218 cowboys and cowgirls competed. (For story with events winners see Sports page 1.)

“Every day we had a full set of bulls plus,” Edwards said, adding that open bull riding and steer roping have grown in popularity in the past few years and entries had to be limited to six each.

The Rodeo went smoothly overall, Edwards said, thanks to experienced volunteers. Friday night's events had to be rearranged after two girls fell during the barrel racing competition, probably due to a divot or hole in the ground. The barrel racing competition was moved to the end of the night so that the ground could be reworked. There were no more falls and many in the crowd stuck around to watch the competition, which went past 10 p.m.

“I think the crowd had an appreciation for the challenge the girls have and the dangers involved,” Edwards said.

Final counts were not available this week, but Edwards predicted the Rodeo did well this year. He said organizers are already thinking about next year.

“It never really ends,” he said.

Davis said Jubilee organizers were also brainstorming for next year, as the still-new event grows. The Jubilee featured 21 barbecue competitors, four live bands, dozens of vendors and a kids' game area.

“I thought it went extremely well,” Davis said. “Our arrangement was much better than what it was last year.”

Davis said he received a lot of positive comments.

“The Kids' Pit was a hit with families,” he said, noting that many of the games and inflatables were free thanks to sponsors.

The beer garden, offering beer from Golden Hills Brewery, was a financial boon for the Jubilee, Davis said. The organization hopes to make a profit to donate to Cheney Outreach, but final proceeds were not available this week.

Overall, Davis said the second annual Julibee was a success. He said it could not have happened without the dozens of volunteers.

“It really flowed smoothly, and I credit that to what we were providing and the volunteers we had constantly checking with the vendors and contestants,” he added

Becky Thomas can be reached at becky@cheneyfreepress.com.

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